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Full text of "The debates in the several state conventions on the adoption of the federal constitution, as recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787 : together with the minutes of the federal convention, Luther Martin's letter, Yates's minutes, congressional opinions, Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of '98-'99, and other illustrations of the constitution"

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VOL.  IV. 








^   H  O 



4f  i«IA 

/  /*^Jff 




Declaration  of  Rights,    •     .     •     •  •     •     •        243 

Amendments  proposed,  ••••••  •     •  244 

The  Question  on  Adoption, 250 

SOUTH   CAROLINA,  (in  L^slaiure,) 253 

(in  Convention,) 318 

The  Question  on  Ratification, 338 

List  of  Del^;ates  to  the  Congress  of  1765, 341 

Opinions,  from  1789  to  1836,  involving  Constitutional  Princi- 
ples, from  Congressional  Debates,  &c.,  343  to  524  and  599 
Virginia  Resolutions  of  1793,  by  Mr.  Madison,     •     •     •     .  528 

Answers  of  the  States, 532 

Kentucky  Resolutions,  by  Mr.  Jefferson, 540 

Report  on  the  Virginia  Resolutions,  by  Mr.  Madison,     .     .  546 
President  Jackson's  Proclamation  on  the  Ordinance  of  South 

Carolina, 582 

Mr.  Madison's  Letter  on  the  TarifT,  and  Banks,    ....  600 

Mr.  Jeflerson  on  Banks, 609 

Mr.  Madison  to  Mr.  Stevenson,  on  Debts,  <&c.,      •     •     .     .612 

Gren.  Alexander  Hamilton  on  Banks, 617 

Various  Papers  on  the  Veto  Power, 525,  620 

Digest  of  Decisions  in   the  Courts  of  the  Union,  involving 

Constitutional  Principles, 626 




ORGANIZATION  of  the  Convention, 1 

RULES  for  the  Government  of  the  Convention,  Electon,  &c, 9 

HENRY  ABBOTT— Religion;  oppowd  to  an  eiclusive  EtUbliahmeut ;  no 
religious  Test ;  Pagan  or  Deiat  uia/  obUin  Office ;  Oath ',  by  whom  are 
we  to  swear  ?  Jupiter,  &c., 191 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH  —  opposed  to  Congrrwional  Control  over  Election!, 67 

Jurisdiction ;  no  Provision  fur  Juries  in  civil  Causes, 142 

Trial  by  Jury  ;  not  on  a  satisfactory  Footing,. 1^1 

Defence  nf  its  Omission  not  satisfactory ;   Precaution  in  granting  Powers, 

107.     Misaissiippi   Casi% •  • 168 

Sovereignty  of  the  Federal  Government  annihilates  the  States, 179 

Powers  of  Congress  dangerous  to  State  Laws, IbO 

AuiendmentSf  for  previous  ones,  184.     Southern  and   Northern  Interests 

divide  at  Susquehamiah,  186 

Adverts  to  the  Annapolis  Convention,  «Xdc., 235 

Mr.  NATHAN   BRYAN  — defends  the  Majority, 248 

Mr.  CABARRUS  —  Prohibitions  against  Paper  Emissions ;  ex  poMfiuUo  Laws, . .   184 

Mr.  CALDWELL  —  Maxims,  fundamental  Principles, 9 

Convention  not  authorized  to  usie  the  Expression  "  We,  the  People," 15 

Legislative  Power  controlled  by  Vice-President's  Vote, 26 

Elections  liable  to  Abuse, 62 

Abuse  of  Parliamentary  Power, 65 

Sweeping  Clause,  not  plain  ;  **  Pursuance  "  equivocal  and  ambtgnous, 187 

Relififion  ;  conceived  that  Jews,  Mahometans,  and  Pagans,  are  mvited  to  the 

United  Sutes, 199 

Mr.  WILLIAM    R.   DAVIE  (a  Member  of  the  Federal  Convention)  —  for  in- 

vestigating  the  Subj<H*t,  and  discussing  Clause  by  Clause, 8 

System  extensive,  involving  the  Principles  of  Federal  Government, 12 

Powers  of  the  F<'d«>ral  Convention ;  states  some  of  the    Events,  and  the 

Defects  of  the  Contederiition,  which  gave  Birth  to  the  Convention, 16 

Negro  Ri*presentation  ;  Jealousies  of  the  East;  one  Kind  of  Property  entitled 

to  Representntion  as  well  as  any  other,  &c., 30 

Vice-Prenident,    Reastms    why    introduced ;    Consolidation    not     intended ; 

Representatives, 58 

Confederacies  ;  Amphintyonic  ;   European, • 59 

Rhode  Island,  her  Conduct ;  Elections ;  true  Construction  of  the  Clause,. . .     (K) 

Rhode  Island ;  Party  Influence,  &c, ;  Elections,  dec., 65 

Journal ;  Publication  ;  necessary  to  conceal  it  during  the  Confederation,. ...     72 

Principle  on  which  the  Constitution  was  formed, 102 

Treaty-making  Power,  in  all  Countries,  placed  in  the  Executive  Depaji- 
menl,  119.  States  would  not  confederate  without  an  equal  Voice  in  the 
Formation  nf  Treaties ;  Separation  of  Powers,  120.     President's  Election 

on  fair  Principles  ;  his  Nominations, '. 12S 

Senatorial  Term  of  Service ;  thirteen  Councillors  would  destroy  Presidential 
Responsibility,  12*2.  State  Sovereignty  represented  in  the  Senate ;  Treaty ; 
Laws,    their    Execution ;    Judiciary ;    prohibitory    Provisions   on^^ht    to 


Mr  DA V  I£,  eontinued  —  Pn je 

tQpenede  the  Laws  of  particalar  States,  155.  Pine-barren  Acts,  Paper 
money;  Debts;  executing  the  Laws,  157.  Cognizance  of  Contro« 
versies,  159.  Federal  Laws  conflicting  with  those  ot  the  States  ;  Legisla- 
tion on  Individuals  instead  of  States  ;  Treaties  ;  Ends  of  the  Constitution 

accomplished  by  a  paramount  Judiciary, 16'J 

Povers  granted,  «Xcc.,  182.  Operation  on  Paper  Money  ;  its  great  Deprecia- 
tion ;  legal  Tender,  &c., 183 

Securities,  no  Power  to  interfere  with  them, Ibl 

Opposed  to  the  previous  Question;  conditional  Ratification  alarming, 21o 

Against  standing  out,  and  for  Adoption, 4 2^i6 

Mr.  GOUDY  —  for  certain  Rules  to  govern  the  Proceedings, 10 

Powers  of  Congress ;  Tendency  to  destroy  the  State  GoTemments, i)'3 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  — Congress;   Apprehension  that  it  may  perpetuate 

itself, 70 

Teas  and  Nays ;  one  fiflh  required, 73 

Slavery  ;  Manumission  apprehended, 101 

Laws  supreme ;  Obligation  of  Contracts ;  Redemption  of  Securities, lUO 

Mr.  HARDIMAN  •- Defence,  where  to  apply, OU 

Mr  WHITMILL  HILL  —  Requisition;  Taxes,  to  be  paid  in  Money  Loons,..,     {£1 

Ml   IREDELL  —  Full  and  fair  Discuision  necessary, 4 

Nature  of  Government ;  People  may  model  it  as  they  please, 9 

Constitution  not  a  Comoact.  &c., 10 

Farther  Remarks  on  tne  Necessity  of  fully  debating  the  proposed  Con- 
stitution,       13 

President  s  Objections  to  Bills, 27 

Impeachment,  a  Security  for  good  Behavior  in  Office, 3:2 

Obedience  to  two  Governments, 3o 

Sf^nttorial  Term ;  Powers  of  the  Senate  ;  Reference  to  British  Government,     3o 
Elections;    Control  by  gener^   Government;    executive,  legislative,    and 

judicial,  separate,  an  Improvement, 73 

Veto  by  the  President,   74 

Taxation ;  approves  the  Power  by  Congress, 91 

Powers  ought  to  be  competent  to  the  public  Safety, ^ .     95 

Slavery,  no  Power  in  Congress  to  abolish  it, lOii 

Election  ;  approves  the  Clause, lUo 

Preridential  Election ;  Objections  answered,  107.  President's  Power  over 
the  Military;   his  Council,  their  Opinion  to  be  given  in  Writing;  Ex 

ample  of  England,  108.     Responsibility  ;  Pardon  ;  linpeochment, ^lijy 

8o?ereignly  of  the  States;  Inequality  of  Suffrage  in  makingr  Treaties,  125. 
Bribes  ;  impeachment,  not  proper  to  render  the  Senate  liable  to  it;  Usage 
of  discussing  Treaties  in  the  British  Parliament,  126.  Surrender  of  Terri- 
tory without  an  Act  of  Parliament;  relative  Influence  of  the  two  Houses 
of  Parliament,  128.    Rulers  should  be  watched;  Amendments  proposed  by 

the  four  Sutes, 130 

No  Danger  from  the  Apprehension  of  Aristocracy ;   Commons  an  Overmatch 

for  King  and  Lords,.... 132 

Senate's   Power  ought  to  counteract  that  of  the  House,  to  preserve  State 

Sovereignty,  133.     Choice  of  President  and  Senntfjrs  ;  Mode  of  nomiuat- 

mg;  Approval  of  the   Senate;  Influence  of  the    House   pn*ponderating,  134 

Trial  b^  Jury;  the  best;  its  Omission  owing  to  the  Difficulty  of  establishing 

a  uniform   Mode,  144.     Old  Confederation;   Quotas;    Debts;    Supreme 

Coart ;  Stamp  Act ;  Bill  of  Rights,  absurd  and  dangerous, 147 

Juries  may  be  either  in  superior  or  infrrior  Courts, 152 

Trial  by  Jury;  omitted  from  the  Difficulty  of  the  Case,  in  the  Convention, 

arising  from  the  different  Modes  that  obtain  in  the  Slates, 164 

Jury  Trial  further  noticed;  Constitution  should  define  Authority,  so  as  to 

leave  no  Doubt;  Congress  claiming  Power  not  given,  a  Usurpation 170 

Slsves,  emancipated  in  some  of  the  Northern  States ;  **  Persons,"  escaping, 
shall  be  delivemi  up  to  those  entitled  to  Service;  Reasons  why  the 
Northern  Delegates  objected  to  the  word  **  Slave  "  being  mentioned  in  the 

Constitution, 17b 

Amendments  may  be   made ;    Ghiffhige   in  the    Senate ;    Compromise  on 

Slavery,  &c., , 177 

Three  Fourths  may  call  a  Convention  to  amend, 17S 

IjtwM  ««asi8tent  with  the  Constitution  binding  on   the   People;   Powers 

fl  INDEX. 

Ur.  IREDELL,  cootinoed—  P^ll^ 

usurped ',   Powers  intended  to  be  jri^^Ot  1^8*1  witlMHit  new  Anthor^j,  &d.,  179 
Paper  Money  not  affi?cted,  id5.    SeUtive  1m|iortaace  of  the  Northern  and 

Southern  States, 186 

Replies  to  general  Objections, 218 

Exclusive  Tiei^islation  ;  States  will  stipolate  ;  Insult  to  Congress  in  1783 ; 
Powers  enumerated,  excluded  from  all  others;  Abuse  of  Tower;  Non- 
Adoption  out  of  the  Union ;  State  of  the  Union  in  1776 ;  anticipates  the 
Interest  of  the  First  Congress ;  Importance  of  framing  the  first  Code  of 

Laws, 218,  223 

"Nine,'*    sufficient  to  establish    the  Constitution;  Disadvantages  in  not 

joining  the  Union  under  the  Constitution, 228 

His  Resolution  for  Teas  and  Nays, 241 

Religion;  Tests;  Persecutions;  its  Toleration  in  America;  Sacrament  in 
Great  Britain  ;  Office  open  to  all  Religions ;  Guaranty  explained ;  Presi- 
dent must  be  a  Native ;  Form  of  an  Oath ;  governed  by  the  Religion  of 
the  Person   taking  it ;  Case  of  an  East  Indian,  a  Gentoo,  in  Char&s  II.'s 

Time, 197 

Moves  for  Ratification  and  subsequent  Amendments, 248 

Gov.  JOHNSTON— Vice-President's  Vote  defended, 96 

Representative  accountable  only  to  his  Constituents, 31^ 

Impeachment ;  Removal ;  Dismialification, ^^^ 

State  Officers  amenable  to  the  Courts  of  Law, oO 

Amendments ;  no  Danger  apprehended, 56 

Powers  ;  no  Parallel  between  Congress  and  Parliament, 64 

Taxation,  in  Kind, 77 

Replies  to  Objections, 8A 

Treaties ;  Dinerence  between  Confederation  and  Constitution, 115 

Jurisdiction,  concurrent  between  State  and  Federal  Courts, 141 

Trial  by  Jury,  dissimilar  Modes, 150 

Constitution  must  be  the  supreme  Law, 15(i 

Amendments ;  adopting  States ;  no  Office-Hunter,  &c.y 226 

Fallacy   of  the   Opinion   that  the   Pope,  or  a  Foreigner,  may   be  chosen 

President ;   Religion, ID8 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  —  for  putting  the  Question  upon  the  Constitution  im- 
mediately,         4 

Reasons  for  this  Proposition, 7 

Ratification ;  wished  to  be  out  of  the  Union, 245 

Though  no  Share  in  the  new  Appointments,  common  Interest  with  Virginia ; 
Jenerson,  he   stated,  wished   Ratification   only  to  preserve  the  Union ; 

Office  Expectants,  their  Bias,  &c., 225 

Defence  of  the  Opposition, 234 

Amendments, 240 

Against  Adoption;  moved  the  previous  Question ;  refuses  to  withdraw  his 
Motion, 216  to  217 

Mr.  LANCASTER  —  his  Apprehensions  for  Constitutional  Amendments,  212. 
Elections ;  President's  conditional  Negative  ;  Two  Thirds  very  rarely  will 
agree  to  a  Law ;  Appeals ;  Armies ;  Religion  ;  Papists  or  Mahometans 
may  occupy  the  Chair;  Disqualification  m  the  States;  would  oppose 
Adoption, 215 

Mr.  LOCKE  —  Constitution  grants  unlimited  Powers,  168.     Necessity  of  Pine- 

barren  Acts  ;  expedient  to  make  Paper  Money  a  legal  Tender, 169 

Opposes  the  Adoption, 239 

Mr.  LENOIR  —  President's  Treaty-making  Power,  a  legislative  Act, 27 

Convention  exceeded  its  Powers ;  Reasons  for  opposmg, 201 

Mr.  MACLAINE  —  Distinction  between  a  Monarchy  and  Republic, 10 

"We,  the  People,"  proper, 16 

Constitution  a  Blank  till  adopted, 24 

Vice-President's  casting  Vote, JJfi 

Biennial  Elections  defended. 

Impeachment  not  extended  to  Representatives,. 

Vice-President's  Powers, 42 

Impeachment,  not  to  reach  petty  Officera, 43 

Misdemeanors,  by  great  State  Officers,  how  redressed  ? 46 

Parliamentary  Power ;  Blackstone ;  Militia  Power, • 6»$ 

Elections ;  Time,  Manner,  Place,  «&c., .••... ^6^  ^ 

INOSX.  vii 

VbHaCLAIllE,  eontinued—  rufk 

AjHwiotisf  Powitr i  Prewdeatml  Py>w9ff0,  ..«••• •«%««•• «••••  1^ 

Jaaiciaryi  State  uid  Federal  CouxU  aepaxAla^ 139 

CoogreM,  iU  Povert  limited  and  enumarated ,.......••» •»••••• 140 

Stites^  their  Interests  connected ;  Trial  hyjfitjf 151 

^mec  in  the  People,  uot  in  the  States;  Uistiootion  betwatA  Law  and  Fast; 

Federal  Jurisdictioo  linuted,... • •• « 160- 

Sute  and  Federal  Courts, 164  to  172 

Money  Bilb ;  Paper  Money ;  I>epreciation,  though  ultimately  good, 179 

Trial  W  Jury  ;  further  Explanations, 175 

St»ie  dovttxeignty  not  in  i>anger  from  Coiigrass, «....••••.. ...^ 180 

Taxes  will  be  inconsiderable;  Congress  will  have  Ciadii  abroad ;  Adoption 

will  bring  out  Specie, 188 

Trade,  its  Resources ;  lioans, 189 

Mr.  M'DOWALL  —  Elections;  Control  QTer  Taxation,, opposed  to  its  Surrender 

to  the  general  Govomment, 87 

Power  without  Responsibility, 119 

Senate,  Danger  of  Combination  with  the  President, • 134 

Trial  by  Jury ;  wealthy  Suitox  may  prayail, • • 143 

Jory  Irtal,  not  secured, ,.••«• •••  149 

Taxes ;  Consequence  oi  Ambiguity,. ,.»... • 139 

Bill  of  Rights  essential;  Elections, 210 

Mr.  MILLER  —  Presidential  Powers,  a  Defect  in  the  Constitutioa, 114 

Mr.  PERSON  —  for  preyioua  Question, 217 

Mr.  PORTER  -~  Money  Clause,  whence  does  the  Powex  originate  ? 94- 

Trea^-making  Power  in  the  Presideni  and  Senate, 113 

Treaties ;  House  of  Representatiyes  ought  to  haye  a  Vote  in  making  them, . .  1191 

Mr.  SHEPHERD— for  full  Discussion, 217 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  (a  Member  of  the  Federal  Con yontion)  — Taxes,  whether  paid  to 

State  or  Federal  Ooyernment,  no  Difl^rence, 81 

Siayes,  Compromise  explained, 100 

Electors,  regiilarity  required, 104,  106 

Prpsidential  Powers ;  Command  of  the  Army, • 114 

Presidential  and  Senatorial  Responsibility, • 124 

Judiciary  ;  Federal  Convention  unanimous  in  keeping  separate  the  Federal 

and  State  Gvoyemments, 139 

Trial  bj  Jury;  in  the  Federal  Conyention,  considerable  Time  taken  to 

inyestigale  the  Subjeet, 144 

Convention,  denies  that  it  exceeded  its  Powers, 206 

Senate  responsible  to  State  Legislatures ;  Federal  Constitution  farorable  to 
Trial  by  Jury ;  Religion^  no  Power  oyer  it ;  an  Infidel  will  never  be  chosen 
for  Omoe ;  Amendments ;  exclusive  Legislation ;  Liberty  of  the  Press ; 
Census ;  Requisitione  done  away, 206,  210 

Mr.  SPENCER— Ooyernor»,SeryanU  of  the  People, 13 

Objections  to  the  new  Form  of  Government, 50 

Refractory  States  ;  Elections, 65 

Taxes,   Inlerfiiience  between  the  States  and  tha  Fsdaial  Goyenraent; 

Objections, «•....•.• 75 

Taxes;  laid  by  the  State  preferred, 80 

Bnt  in  War  by  the  general  Government, .  • 82 

Executive  Power;    standing  Council  of  one  Member  from  each  of  the 

States,  &o., 116 

Treaties  should  have  the  Sanction  of  all  the  Senate ;  Aristocracy  should  be 

ffuarded  against, , *.  131 

Judieiary,  ODiections  to  the  System, 136 

Preamble, ''We,  the  People; '^^  Oath,  153.    Trial  by  Jury, 154 

Contends  for  a  Bill  of  Rights ;  Power,  Jurisdiction,  and  R^fht,  notgiyen  up. 

remain  in  the  States ;  oejeets  to  a  Reyision  of  Fbcts  hy  Federal  C&wt,  ana 

eoncorrent  Jurisdiction  dangerous, • 163 

Boundary  of  a  Bill  of  Rights  wanted, 168 

Behgkms  Tests,  Foundation  of  Perseoutioo, • 200 

Amendments,!^.     For  Union, • 230 

Mr.  STEELE  —  Elections  ;  no  Check  in  the  old  Confederation,^ 71 

Jnamal, its  Publication. ••.. 72 

Taiation,  in  Payor  of  toe  Clause, %? 

Illi  INDEX. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  TAYLOR—  Wordin|r, «« We,  the  People,'*  an  uninied  Power,. .    $^ 

Appointments ;  Rights  parted  with, • •     26 

Impeachment^  does  it  reach  Collectors? 4r 

Elections,  their  Control  in  yagne  Terms, 70 

Electors,  Objections  to  the  Power, 104,105 

Mr.  WILSON  —  wished  Exclusion  of  Popish  Priests  from  Office, 212 


TEAS  AND  NATS,  at  large,  on  Amendment, 250 

CLOSING  PROCEEDINGS— «« neither  to  ratify  nor  reject  the  ConsUtnUon,'* 

adopted  by  a  large  M^ority, 25J 


ROBERT  BARNWELL— for  a  limited  Discossion,  263.  Defence  of  the  Con- 
stitution, 291.  President's  Responsibility  ;  Treaties;  Congressional  Pay ; 
Paper  Medium ;  Trial  by  Jury ;  Preferences ;  Importation  of  Negroes ; 
Carrying  Trade ;  pleased  with  the  Clause  relative  to  Slayes, 293 

PIERCE  BUTLER  (one  of  the  Members  of  the  Federal  Convention)  —  Im- 

peachment ;  Senate ;  Peace  and  War, 26? 

Mr.  PATRICK  CALHOUN  —  Religion  ;  too  great  a  Latitude  allowed, 312 

PATRICK  DOLLARD  (in  Conventum)  —  his  Constituents,  to  a  Man,  opposed 

to  the  Constitution  for  Want  of  a  Bill  of  RighU, 336 

Com.  GILLON  —  satisfied  with  the  Doings  of  the   Convention ;   in  Favor  of 

American  Bottoms, 297 

Hon.  RALPH  IZARD  —  Right  of  Kings  to  make  Treaties, 268 

Mr.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES— Senate  and  the  old  Confederation;  Constitution 

and  Laws  paramount ;  Presidential  Powers, 265 

Treaties  contrary  to  Law  not  valid ;  £ul(Mrium  on  the  Confederation,  271. 
New  Government  an  Experiment ;  no  aoeouate  Advantage ;  Slavery,. . . .  272 

Importation  of  Negroes,  272.  Evils  apprehended  from  the  Laws  of  Congress ; 
local  Legislature ;  Fears  for  the  Fate  of  the  Southern  States, 273 

Defence  of  the  Confederation ;  Powers  of  the  President ;  Repreitentation ; 
Senators ;  Commercial  Advantae;es  enjoyed  by  the  Eastern  States ;  Taxes ; 
Congressional  Pay ;  recommends  another  Convention, ■ 287,  291 

Explains  his  Argiiment  on  Treaties;  Checks;  limiting  the  Importation  of 
Negroes  an  Evil ;  Navy  to  come  from  the  East ;  Taxes ;  Expense  of  the 
Government;  Presidential  Powers;  the  "  Well-born ;"  preparatory  Plan 
for  a  Monarchy ;  Constitution  ruinous  to  the  Liberty  of  America, 308 

Mr.  JAMES  LINCOLN  —  opposes  the  Constitution,  as  an  aristocratic  Govern- 
ment; President  may  nold  his  Office  for  Life;  Liberty  of  the  Press 
forgotten ;  Bill  of  Rights  essential, 312 

Col.  MASON  — thanks  Mr.  Lowndes  for  his  Opposition  to  the  Constitution,...  316 

Mr.  JOHN  MATTHEWS— denies  the  Efficiency  of  the  ConfederaUon, 298 

JUDGE  PENDLETON  — Impeachment, 263 

Only  three  States  sanctioned  the  Importation  of  Negroes, 272 

CHARLES  PINCKNET  (a  Member  of  the  Federal  Convention)  —  Motives  as 
a  Member  ol  the  Federal  Convention ;  Condition  of  the  Country  at  the 
•Close'  of  the  War;   Defects  of  the  Confederation,  &c.,  253.     Necessity      ' 
of  a  Government  to  operate  on  the  People ;  Compromise ;  rapid  Glance 

at  different  Parts  of  the  System, 257 

Presideut*s  Power ;  Responsibility, 280 

Observations  on  Uie  System  (before  the  Convention  May  12.)  But  one 
Government  in  Europe  that  provides  for  civil  Rii^hts.  318.  People 
Servants;  Rulers  supreme;  Ireland;  the  Netlierlands;  America  taught 
the  Rights  of  Man,  319.  Primogeniture,  320.  Peopled  classed ;  commercial 
foreign  Trade,  Root  of  public  Distress ;  mechanical ;  agricultural,  221. 
Merctisnts ;  Mediocrity  a  leading  Feature ;  Division  into  States ;  East- 
ern, 322.  Middle ;  Maryland  and  the  Southern  States ;  Outline  of  the 
Legislation  jf  Pennsylvania ;  Georgia ;  Marvland,  323.  New  Tork, 
MMsachuselts,  325.    Foreign  Governments;   Evils  of  a  Republic,  326 


Coostitution  repreients  States  as  well  as  GoTemments ;  thi^e  principal 
Forms  of  OoTemment  considered, 327 

CUAAL£S  COT£8  WORTH  PINCKNET  (a  Member  of  the  Federal  Conven- 
tion) —  Treaties,  where  to  be  lodged ;  President,  the  Power  of  proposing 
Treaties, 263 

Objections  answered;  Treaties  not  repugnant  to  Laws;  Mode  of  Toting  in 
Seoate.  dto^ 266 

Treaty  or  Peaee,  on  its  Promolgation ;  Recogniianoes  diseharged ;  Case  of 
Love  for  Murder, 270 

Explanations  on  Treaties;  paramount  under  the  Con&derationu  277.  Vattel 
and  Burlamaqui  quoted  ;  South  Carolina  interested  in  the  Saciedness  of 
Treaties ;  properly  lodged  in  the  Senate  and  President.. 278 

Abuse  of  Power;  Impeachment;  Things  under  the  Confederation  pictured; 
The  ^  three  fifUis,'^  2d0.  RepresenUtlon,  283.  Suflbrings  of  the  Eastern 
States  in  the  Cause  of  Independence ;  Negroes  necessary  in  Cultiyatron 
for  South  Carolina ;  Compromise  ;  Security  against  Emancipation ;  Fugi- 
tives recoverable, 284 

Independent  before  the  Treaty  of  Peace  ;  replies  to  Mr.  Lowndes's  Objec- 
tions; Powers  voted  for  the  general  Good;  Elections;  Representatives; 
Senate  ;  Presidential  Elections ;  Foreign  Influence  to  be  guarded  against; 
commercial  Preferences ;  Judiciary, 3U0  to  308 

Replies  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  Objections;  Policy  of  the  Refiligibility  of  the 
rresident;  General  Government,  no  Powers  but  what  are  expressly 
granted ;  Reasons  why  a  Bill  of  Rights  was  not  inserted, 315 

{In  Canventwn)  —  10th  Sec.  Art.  1.  On  the  Restriotive  Clauses ;  Paper 
Money ;  Credit  with  Foreigners, • • 333 

Mr.  PRINGLE  (Speaker) — Treaty-making  belongs  to  the  executive  Depart- 
ment; President  and  Senate  do  not  possess  legislative  Power, 268 

DAVID  RAMSAY  — Treaties  superior  to  local  Laws, 270 

Continental  Debt ;  old  Confederation  dissolved, 286 

HoQ.  JACOB   READ — Confederation;    Congress;    its    Efficiency    farcical; 

Instances, 286 

Hon.  JOHN  RUTLEDGE  (a  Member  of  the  Federal  Convention)  — Treaties 
paramount;  their  Mode  of  Ratification  in   England,  and  Operation  in 

Afoerica,  267.    Difficulties  in  *82  because  nine  States  aid  not  attend, 268 

Treaties,  the  paramount  Law ;  Eulogium  on  the  Constitution, 311 

Hon.  EDWARD  RUTLEDGE— Weakness  of  the  Confederation;  defends  the 
Constitution,  274.  Taxes,  in  Favor  of  the  South ;  $K)  a  head  on  Negroes 
eouivalent  to  5  per  cent  on  Importations;   all   Free  taxed;   only   two 

fifths  of  the  Slaves  taxed, 277 

Federal  Convention  did  not  exceed  its  Powers ;  Navigation ;  Exclusion  from 
West  India  Trade,  du:. 298 

Gen.  SUMPTER  (in  Convention)  —  moved  an  Adjournment,  to  give  further 

Time  for  Consideration ;  rejected,  yeas,  89 ;  nays,  135, •  338 

ALEXANDER  TWEED  (tn  OmvsiUum)— denies  the  Restrictions  of  his  Con- 
•tituents ;  open  to  Conviction ;  Reform  needed ;  Importance  of  the  Con- 
stitution,   329 

QUESTION— To   assemble    at   Charleston   the    12th   of  May;   ayes,    76; 

nays,  75, 316,317 

RATIFICATION,  (m  Convention ;)  yeu,  149;  nays,  73, 338,340 

CONGRESS  of  1765.  JVeCs  — List  of  Delegates  and  Extract  from  the  Jour- 
nal, 341.    Extract  from  Ramsay  on  Ratification, 341 


ABOLITION.    Right  of  PeUUon.    H.  R.  January,  1836.  —  Cashing, 594, 596 

AUEN   AND   SEDITION   LAWS.    June,  1798.  —  E.  Livingston,  Taiewell, 

440.    Report,1799, 441 

VIRGINIA  RESOLUTIONS  of  1798,  pronounciiy  the  Sedition  Laws  to  be  un- 

constitutioiial,  and  defining  the  Rights  of  the  Dtates,  drawn  by  Mr.  Maiiison,  COS 

VOL.  IT.  B 



Bute  of  Delaware, 532 

SteteoflUMde  1iUm4, 633 

Commonwealth  of  ManacliiiMtto,  533 

Bute  of  New  YoA, 537 

State  of  Connecticut, 538 

StM^ofNewHaoiiMkinf. 538 

8t«te  of  Vermottt, 539 

KENTUCKY    RESOLUTIONS   of  1798   and    1799.     (The   original    Draft 

prepared  by  Mr.  Jefferaon.) 540  to  545 

MADISON'S  REPORT  OB  the  Virginia  ReMlutiona, 546io5dU 

ALl&N  AND  SEDITION  LAWS.    M.Lyon.    Senate, March,  1811.— Smith, 

of  South  Carolina, ••...- 474 

AMENDMENTS   TO  THE   CONSTITUTION.    H.  R.  Angort  13, 1789.  — 

Gerry,  Ames,  Madiaon, 404 

AMENDMENT  TO  THE  CONSTITUTION ;  Election  of  Preaident,  Senate, 
January23,I800.  — C.  Pinckney,  ofS.  C, tJt 

.    H.  R.  August,  1804.  —  Jackaon,  453 

.    Senate,  March,  1886.  —  Dicker- 

•on,  494.    (With  Extraela  from  the  Journal  of  the  Federal  Convention  on 
the  Presidential  Term.) 

APPOINTMENT;  Panama  Mtttion.    Senate,  March,  1826.  —  Berrien,  . .  480  to  483 

APPROPRIATIONS   OF  MONEY,  for  Vesaela  of  War.    H.  R.  February  25, 

1797.— GaUatin,  Nicholas, 439 

ARMY,  STANDING,  Regulation  of.    H.  R.  Januaiy  5, 1800.  —  Randolph,. ...  441 

BANKS.    Hamilton's  Exposition  to  Congress,  1791.    Extract, 617  to  620 

BANK,  Esublishment  of.  H.  R.  February  %  1791.  —  Giles,  411.  Vining,  Madi- 
son, 412.  Ames,  414  to  417.  Sedgwick,  Madison,  417.  Lawrence,  Jack- 
son, Boudinot,  Stone,  418.    G«rry, 419  to  422 

BANK  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES.  Renewal  of  Charier.  H.  R. 
April  13,  1810.  — Love^  Troup,  Key,  Abion,  456.  Bnrwell,  P.  B.  Porter, 
Eppea,  Crawford,  457.     Clay, 45f 

.    H.  R.  April  13, 1830.  —  M'Duffie,  . .  52^ 

(J{oU.    Jackson's  Message  of  December  7,  1630.) 

BANKS.     Mr.  Jefllerson.    Extract  referred  to  by  Mr.  Madison, 609  to  61 

J^bU  on  Banks,  from  Jefferson's  Memoirs,  March  1 1,  1798, 61 

JYbte  on  the  Tariff,  furnishing  a  Summary  of  the  Argument  of  the  South 
Carolina  Exposition.    See  page  580. 

.    Mr.  Madison  to  C.  J.  Ingenoll,  February,  1831, GOk 

BANKRUPT  BILL.     H.  R.  Februarv  16,    1818.  — Hopkinson,  470.     Tyler, 

Sergeant,  MiUs,  471.     March  12,  'l822.  —  Buchanan, 47i^ 

BANKRUPT  LAW.    Senate,  May  1, 1826.  —  Hayne,  490  to  493.    Woodbury,  493 

BANKRUPTCY.    Senate,  January,  1826.  —  Van  Burcn, 47S 

COLUMBIA.   DISTRICT  of;   Case  of  J.  P.   Van   Ness.     H.    R,  January, 

17,  1803.  — Van  Ness,  Bacon, 451 

To  re-cede  the  District    H.  R.  February  9, 1803.  —  Bayard, 451 

CONTRACTORS.    March  23,1806.— Eppes, :....  454 

DEBT,   DOMESTIC.    H.  R.  February  22, 1790.  —  Smith,  S.  C.  405.    Madison,  406 

,  PUBLIC.    Reduction  of  the  Public  Debt.    H.  R.  November  20,  1792. 

—  Mercer,429.    Ames,  430.    Madison, 431 

DEBTS.  Mr.  Madison  to  Mr.  Stevenson,  27th  November,  1830,  examining 
the  Origin  and  Progress  of  the  Clause  of  the  Constitution,  ^  To  pay  the 
Debts,  and  provide  for  common  Defence,*'  &c..    Extract bl2  lo  615 

DIGEST  OF  DECISIONS  in  the  CourU  of  the  Union,  involving  Constitu- 

tional  Principles, 626 

DUTIES.  May  15,  1789.— White,  Madiion,  Cfymer,  Carroll,  345.  Wadsworth, 
Ames,  Fitzsimons,  Hartley,  Bland,  Boudinot,  346.  Sinnickson,  Lawrence, 
Smith,  S.  C. ;  Messages  of  Washington,  Jefferson,  Madison,  Monroe  ;  W. 
H.  Crawfcvd't  Report, 347 

DUTIES  OR  LICENSES.    H.  R.  Deoember  31,  1800.  —Bird, 442 

DUELLING.    Persons  engaged  in  a  Duel  to  be  disqualified  from  holding  Office. 

H.R.  December  31,  Rill -i^Dani, w. 451 

£MBARaO,toiruapett€.    H.  K.  Apird  t9, 1806. -^  ^uinfty,  186.    Ccy, 456 


flUURGOES,  to  regulate  and  reToke.    H.  R.  Hay  529, 17M.  — MaditoD,  ••••433 

EXFONGHVO  BESOLUTION.     Senate,  1836.— Leigh,  60a    RiYea, 599 

nSHUlY,  OOO.    OMttting  BoimlKa.    H.  R.  Fbtniary  3, 1793. -- GUee,  426. 
WiUiaBMiNi.  AUaMon. « 427 

FRENCH  REPUBLIC,  on  itrU'uMr  out  eompUiBentaiy  Renlr  to.    Senate,  Jan- 
0117  C 1796. -- Elliworth,  Botler, 434 

IHTEUIAli  IMPROy£Bl£NT.    H.  R.  February  11, 1796.— Madwon,  Bald- 
win, Bourne,  Williama,  434.    Thacher, 435 

■■■■  ]>eeember5|1816.-~BIadMon, 461 

■                                                   BoBueBiU.   H.R.Febrau7,1817.  — Picker- 
i^Cki|r,467.    Madiaea'a  Objeetiowi  to  tlw  abore  Bonus  BUI, 468 

— X>iHnal  Swamp  Canal,  Senate,  May,  IdSM. 

VanBuiM, 477 

" .    H.  R.  Jaaiia^   18,    1885.  —  Cambieleng, 

Berrien, 479 

.    Florida  Cana],Febniar7 14, 1896.— Braneh, 

Bowan, 480 

IMPBACmMBNT  OF  JUDGE  CHASE.  H.  R.  Febraaiy  81,  1806.  — Hop- 
kineon,  453.    (ffoU  from  Story's  Comaealariea.) 

mOlAN  TREATIES.    Senatt,  May,  1830.— Bpragne^ 4S3 

AJDIdART.  Senate,  iaauaiy  8,  1800.  — J.  Maaon,  449.  Stone,  N.  a  443. 
Breckmridge,  HentphiU,  444.  Bayaid,  Rutledge,  445.  Van  Buran,  485, 
486.    Woodbury, 487,  488 

— — — — .    H.  R.  January  10,  18S5.  —  Webeter, 478 

JUDICIAL  SYSTEM.  Senate,  April  7, 1896.— Mr.  Van  Buien,  486.  Wood- 
bury,   %^. • 487 

UyUISIANA  TREATY.    H.  R.  Ootober  96,  1803.  —  ClHol,  Mitchell,  Smilie, 
r,  Tracy,  448.    J.  Q.  AdaiM,  449.    (Abte.    Mr.  Jeibraon'e  Opinion 
LYON,  MATTHEW,  Petition  of    Senate,  Marcb,  1891.— Smith, 474 

MILITARY  APPROPRIAHON  BILL.    H.  R.  January  4, 1819.^  Lowndea,  472 

MILTXIA  BILL.    H.R.  December  94, 1790.  — Bloodword^Sbemlan,MadiMm, 

LiTennore,  438.     Williamaon,  493.    Boudinot,  Jaekaon,  LiYermore, 434 

MILITIA.    Bill  for  organixing,  &o.    H.  R.  December,  ]796^^Rutlierlbrd, . . . .  •  438 

MISSOURI  QUESTION.    U.  R.  Deoember  13, 1881.— Lowndea, 474 

NULUFIGATION.    Senate,  April  8, 1830.— Joaiah  8.  Johnson, 593 

OATH  to  support  the  Constithtion,  May  6, 1789.  —  Geny,  343.    Bfamd,  Jackson, 

Lawtenoe,  «n4  Sherman, , 344 

FATBONAOE,  Foreign  Intoreourse  BiD.    H.  R.  January  18, 1798.  —  GaUatin, 

439.    Pmokney,  Bayard, 440 

fOBT  OFFICE.    BiU  to   authorise    the   President  to  ehoose  a  MaU  Route. 

H.  B.  Deeemfcer  6, 1791.  — Sedgwiek,  Geary,  Bonme, 485 

r08T-<»*nCfiS  AND  POST^ROADS.    H.  R.  Jaa.3, 1798.  — Fitxsimons,.  426 

PRESIDENTIAL  ELECTION.    BUI  to  determine  the  'Hme  When  Electors 

ahaO  be  chosen,  Ac,    H.  R.  January  14, 1791.  -^  Sherman,  ...» 424 

'    ■,  ( Amendmeot,)    Senate,  1896.  —  Van  Bqrenf::488-^ 
PVBUC  LANDS  lor  Internal  Improfemmis,  F^mry  13, 18QT.  —  Bayard,. . .  ^ 

,  Disposal  of.  Senate,  May,  1826.- Van  Buien, 488 

,  Senate,  February  23, 1830.  —  Woodbury, 628 

REFUGEES,  ST.  DOMINGO,  BiU  for  the  Relief  of.  H.  R.  January  10, 1794. 
—  Madison,  Nicholas,  Boudinot.  Dexter,  431.  (JfoU.  Relief  of  tne  Citizens 
of  Venezuela,  to  expend  $50,000,  passed,  ayes,  45 ;  noes,  29.) 

REMOVAL,  POWER  OF,  by  the  President,  on  the  Bill  establishing  the  <*  De- 

^partment  of  Foreign  Affairs."    H.  R.  June,  1789, 350 

Wliite,  350.  White,  357.  Lawrence,  367  to  371. 

Smith,  S.  C.  350  to  353.      Boudinot,  357  to  361  .        Jackson,  371  to  373. 
Huntingdon,  353.  Ames,  361  to  364.  Clymer,  373  to  374. 

Sedgwick,  353.  Livermore,  364  to  366.       Page,  374  to  375. 

MadUon,  964  to  367  Hartley,  366  to  367.  Sherman,  975  to  370 

Ill  INDEX. 

REMOVAL,  POWER  OF,  (cootmoed.) 

Stone,  376  to  37a  Lee,  388  to  389.  Livermofe,  308. 

Madbon,  378  to  383.  Boodinot,  389  to  39L  MmImod,  396  to  400. 

Gerry,  363  to  386.  Gerry,  301  to  393.  Biddwin,  400  to  403. 

Beitfon,  386  to  387.  Sbennan,  393  to  394.  Geny,  403  to  404 

Sedgwick,  387  to  388.  Amei,  394  to  396. 

RESTRICTIONS,  COMMERCIAL.    H.  R.  Jumaiy  31, 1794. — Madina,. . .  439 

.    H.  R.  Febrouy  14,  1806.— Madimi's 

■eTen  Reeolationf, • ••••••••  453 

RETALUTION  for  A^i«a»>n-    H.  R.  Maj  93, 179a  —  SitgreftTea, 440 

RIGHT  OF  PETITION.  (MoUium.)  Senate,  1836.  — Cnahtng,  694.  Pren- 
tiaa,  595.  Hugh  L.  Wnite,  596.  Gnindj,  King,  of  Alabama,  Buchanan, 
597.    King,  ofGeorgia,  Calhoun, 596 

SEAMEN'S  BILL.     Regolation  of  Seamen,  in  Public  and  PriTate  Veasels. 

H.  R.  February,  1813.  — Seybert,  460.    Archer, 461 

SEMINOLE  WAR.    H.  R.  January  21 ,  1819. — Richard  M.  JohnK>ni 47S 

SLAVE  TRADE.  Commitment  of  the  Quaken' Memorial.  H.  R.  Blarch,  1790. 
—  Tucker,  406.  Gerry,  Burke,  SoDtt,  Jackaon,  Sherman,  Baldwin,  Smith, 
S.  C,  407.  Page,  Madwon,  Gerry,  40a  Boudinot,  Stone,  Tucker,  S.  C, 
Jackaon,409.   ISmitb,  S.  C,  Boudinot,  410.    AoCa, 411 

SLAVERY.    Panama  BliHion.    Senate,  March,  182&—Hayne, 483 

.    {JiboUtion,)    Report  on  circulating,  through  the  United  States 
Mails,  inflammatory  Appeals.    Calhoun.    Senate,  lebraaiy  4, 1836, 593 

STATE  RIGHTS.    (D^aU  am  FooU't  Resolntiont.)     Senate,  January,  1830,. •  496^. 
Webster,  496  to  509.  Hayne,  [in  replyJ  509  to  5ia  V 

Webster,  [closing  remarks,]  516, 519.  Ed.  Lirrngston,  519. 

Woodbury,  520.  Grundy,  531. 

TARIFF.    H.R.  April  26, 1820.— Clay, 473 

^,  its  ConstitutioraOity.    Senate,  1824.— Hayne, 475 

.  South  Carolina  Protest, 580 

.    (JS'ua^Han^    President  Jackson's  PROCLAMATION,  of  the  10th 

of  December,  183o,  concerning  the  Ordinance  of  South  Carolina  of  the 
24th  of  November,  1832, 582to59B 

.    Mr.  Madison  to  Mr.  Cabell,  dated  September— October,  1826,  600  to  606 

TAXES,  DIRECT.    H.  R.  May  6, 1794.  —  Sedgwick, 433 

TREATY,  COMMERCIAL,  with  Great  Britain.  H.  R.  January  8.1816.— 
Hopkinson ;  Calhoun,  462.  Tucker,  464.  Pinckney,  465.  rickering, 
Pinckney, .• 466 

TREATY-MAKING  POWER,    (JayV)    H.  R.  March  23,  1796.— Murray, 

GaUatin,435.    Madison,  436.    Lyman, 437 

VOLUNTEER    CORPS.     H.  R.  January   12,  1812.  —  Poindexter,  Grundy, 

Porter,  Cheves,  Clay, 459 

VETO.    Monroe's  Objections  to  An  Act  for  the  Preserration  of  the  Cumberland 

Road, 525 

.    Jackson's  Objections  to  *'An  Act  authorising  a  Subseription  to  the      * 

Mayaville,  4DC.,Road," 526 

,  a  short  History  of  the, 620 

VETOES  bydiifisfentPieBdents,Listofthe, 6M 








Al  a  Convention f  begun  and  held  at  Hillsborough ,  the2lst  day  of  July^ 
in  the  year  of  our  Lord  one  thousand  seven  hundred  and  eighty-eighty 
and  of  the  Independence  of  America  the  ISth,  in  pursuance  of  a  resolu' 
tioH  of  the  last  Genercd  Assembly,  for  the  purpose  of  deliberating  and 
determining  on  the  proposed  Plan  of  Federal  Government ,  — 

A  MAJORITY  of  those  who  were  duly  elected  as  members  of  this  Conven- 
tion being  met  at  the  church,  they  proceeded  to  the  election  of  a  presi- 
dent, when  his  excellency,  Samuel  Johnston,  Esq.,  was  unanimously  chosen, 
and  conducted  to  the  chair  accordingly. 

The  house  then  elected  Mr.  John  Hunt  and  Mr.  James  Taylor  clerks 
to  the  Convention,  and  also  appointed  door-keepers,  &c. 

The  house  then  appointed  a  select  committee  to  prepare  and  propose 
certain  rules  and  regulations  for  the  government  of  the  Convention  in  the 
discussion  of  the  Constitution. 

The  committee  consisted  of  Messrs.  Davie,  Person,  Iredell,  I.  M'Donald, 
Battle,  Spaight,  and  the  Hon.  Samuel  Spencer,  Esq. 

The  Convention  then  appointed  a  committee  of  three  members  from 
etch  district,  as  a  committee  of  privileges  and  elections,  consisting  of 
Messrs.  Spencer,  Irwin,  Caldwell,  Person,  A.  Mebane,  Joseph  Taylor, 
M'Dowall,  J.  Brown,  J.  Johnston,  Davie,  Peebles,  E.  Gray,  Gregory,  Ire- 
dell, Cabarrus,  I.  G.  Blount,  Keais,  B.  Williams,  T.  Brown,  Maclaine, 
Foster,  Clinton,  J.  Willis,  Grove,  J.  Stewart,  Martin,  and  Tipton 

The  Convention  then  adjourned  till  to-morrow  morning. 

Tuesday,  July  22,  1788. 

The  Convention  met  according  to  adjournment. 

The  committee  appointed  for  that  purpose  reported  certain  rules  and 
regulations  for  the  government  of  the  Convention,  which  were  twice  read, 
and,  with  the  exception  of  one  article,  were  agreed  to,  and  are  as  fol- 
lows, viz :  — 

VOL.  IV.  1  ' 


''  1.  When  the  president  assumes  the  chair,  the  members  shall  take 
their  seats. 

"  2.  At  the  opening  of  the  Convention,  each  day,  the  minutes  of  the 
preceding  day  shall  be  read,  and  be  in  the  power  of  the  Convention  to  be 
corrected,  afler  which  any  business  addressed  to  the  chair  may  be  pro- 
ceeded upon. 

**  *^.  No  member  shall  be  allowed  to  speak  but  in  his  place,  and,  after 
rising  and  addressing  himself  to  the  president,  shall  hot  proceed  until  per- 
mitted by  the  president. 

**  4.  No  member  speaking  shall  be  interrupted  but  by  a  call  to  order  by 
the  president,  or  by  a  member  through  the  president. 

**  5.  No  person  shall  pass  between  the  president  and  the  person  speak- 

*'  6.  No  person  shall  be  called  upoo  for  any  words  of  heat,  but  on  the 
day  on  which  they  were  spoken. 

**  7.  No  member  to  be  referred  to  in  debate  by  name. 

"8.  The  president  shall  be  heard  without  interruption,  and  when  he 
rises,  the  member  up  shall  sit  down. 

"9.  The  presid€nt  himself,  or  by  request,  may  call  to  order  any  mem- 
ber who  shall  transgress  the  rules ;  if  a  second  time,  the  president  may 
refer  to  him  by  name;  the  Crmvention  may  then  examine  and  censure  the 
member's  conduct,  he  being  allowed  to  extenuate  or  justify. 

*'  10.  When  two  or  more  members  are  up  together,  the  president  shall 
determine  who  rose  first. 

'Ml.  A  motion  made  and  seconded  shall  be  repeated  by  the  president. 
A  motion  shall  be  reduced  to  writing  if  the  president  requires  it.  A  mo- 
tion may  be  withdrawn  by  the  member  making  it,  before  any  decision  is 
had  upon  it. 

'*  12.  The  name  of  him  who  makes,  and  the  name  of  him  who  seconds, 
the  motion,  shall  be  entered  upon  the  minutes. 

**  13.  No  member  shall  depart  the  service  of  the  house  without  leave. 

**  14.  Whenever  the  house  shall  be  divided  upon  any  question,  two  or 
more  tellers  shall  be  appointed  by  the  president,  to  number  the  members 
on  each  side. 

**  15.  No  member  shall  come  into  the  house,  or  remove  from  one  place 
Co  another,  with  his  hat  on,  except  those  of  the  Quaker  profession. 

**  16.  Every  member  of  a  committee  shall  attend  at  the  call  of  his 

**  17.  The  yeas  and  nays  may  be  called  and  entered  on  the  minutes, 
when  any  two  members  require  it. 

*'  18.  Every  member  actually  attending  the  Convention  shall  be  in  his 
place  at  the  time  to  which  the  Convention  stands  adjourned,  or  within 
half  an  hour  thereof." 

Mr.  Lenoir  moved,  and  was  seconded  by  Mr.  Person,  that  the  return 
for  Dobbs  county  snould  be  read,  which  was  accordingly  read ;  whereupon 
Mr.  Lenoir  presented  the  petition  of  sundry  of  the  inhabitants  of  Dobbs 
county,  complaining  of  an  illegal  election  in  the  said  county,  and  praying 
relief;  which  beinsr  also  road,  on  motion  of  Mr.  Lenoir,  seconded  by  Mr. 
Davie,  Resolved,  That  the  said  petition  be  referred  to  the  committee  of 

Mr.  Spaight  presented  the  deposition  of  Benjamin  Caswell,  sheriff  of 
Dobbs  county,  and  a  copy  of  the  poll  of  an  election  held  in  the  said 
county,  fiir  members  to  this  Coavention,  and  the  depositions  of  William 


Crom,  Neil  Hopkins,  Robert  White,  John  Hartsfield,  Job  Smith,  and 
Frederick  Baker,  which,  being  severally  read,  were  referred  to  the  com* 
nittee  of  elections. 

Mr.  Cabarrus  presented  the  dq>08ition8  of  Charles  Markland,  Juo.,  and 
Luther  Spalding,  relative  to  the  election  of  Dobbs  county ;  which,  being 
read,  were  referred  to  the  committee  of  elections. 

The  Conrention  then  adjourned  to  10  o'clock  to-morrow  rooming. 

WSDNBSDAT,  Jll/jf  23,  1788. 

The  house  met  according  to  adjournment. 

Mr.  Gregory,  from  the  committee  of  elections,  to  whom  were  referred 
the  returns  from  Dobbs  county,  and  sundry  other  papers,  and  the  petition 
of  sundry  of  the  inhabitants  of  Dobbs  county  relative  to  the  election  of 
the  said  county,  delivered  in  a  report;  which,  being  read,  was  agreed  to 
in  the  following  words,  viz  :  — 

"  Resolved,  That  it  is  the  opinion  of  this  committee,  that  the  sitting 
members  returned  from  the  county  of  Dobbs  vacate  their  seats,  as  it  does 
not  appear  that  a  majority  of  the  county  approved  of  a  new  election  under 
the  recommendation  of  his  excellency,  the  governor ;  but  the  contrary  is 
more  probable. 

"  That  it  appears  to  this  committee,  that  there  was  a  disturbance  and 
rk)t  at  the  first  election,  (which  was  held  on  the  days  appointed  by  the  re- 
solve of  the  General  Assembly,)  before  all  the  tickets  could  be  taken  out 
of  the  box,  and  the  box  was  then  taken  away  by  violence;  at  which  time 
it  appears  there  were  a  sufficient  number  of  tickets  remaining  in  the  box 
to  hive  given  a  majority  of  the  whole  poll  to  five  others  of  the  candidates, 
besides  those  who  had  a  majority  of  the  votes  at  the  time  when  the  dis- 
turbance and  riot  happened.  It  is,  therefore,  the  opinion  of  this  commit- 
tee, that  the  sheriff  could  have  made  no  return  of  any  five  members 
elected ;  nor  was  there  any  evidence  before  the  committee  by  which  they 
could  determine,  with  certainty,  which  candidates  had  a  majority  of  votes 
of  the  other  electors. 

"  The  committee  are  therefore  of  opinion  that  the  first  election  is  void, 
u  well  as  the  latter.*' 

On  a  motion  made  by  Mr.  Galloway,  seconded  by  Mr.  Macon,  — 

"  Resohert,  Thit  the  Bill  of  Rights  and  Constitution  of  this  state,  the 
Articles  of  Confederation,  the  resolve  of  Congress  of  the  21st  of  Febru- 
ary, 1787,  recommending  a  Convention  of  Delegates  to  meet  at  Philadcl- 
phii  the  second  Monday  in  May,  1787,  for  the  purpose  of  revising  the 
said  Articles  of  Confederation,  together  with  the  act  of  Assembly  of  this 
itite,  passed  at  Fayetteville,  the  6th  day  of  January,  1787,  entitled  *An 
act  for  appointing  deputies  from  this  state  to  a  Convention  proposed  to 
be  held  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia  in  May  next,  for  the  purpose  of  revis- 
ing the  Federal  Constitution ; '  as  also  the  resolve  of  Congress  of  the 
2^h  September  last,  accompanying  the  report  of  the  Federal  Convention, 
together  with  the  said  report,  and  the  resolution  of  the  last  General  As- 
sembly, be  now  read." 

The  Bill  of  Rights  and  Constitution  of  this  state,  the  Articles  of  Con- 
^deration,  the  act  of  Assembly  of  this  state  above  referred  to,  and  the 
res'>Iutioa  of  Congress  of  the  2Sth  September  last,  were  accordingly  read. 

The  honorable  the  president  then  laid  before  the  Convention  official 
accounts  of  the  ratification  of  the  proposed  Federal  Constitution  by  the 

4  DEBATES.  [Iredell. 

states  of  Massachasetts  and  South  Carolina ;  which  were  ordered  to  be 
file^l  with  the  secretary,  subject  to  the  perusal  of  the  members 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  moved  that  the  Constitution 
should  be  discussed  clause  by  clause. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  moved  that  the  Question  upon  the 
Constitution  should  be  immediately  put.  He  said  that  the 
Constitution  had  so  long  been  the  subject  of  the  deliberation 
of  every  man  in  this  country,  and  that  the  members  of  the 
Convention  had  had  such  ample  opportunity  to  consider  it, 
that  he  lielieved  every  one  of  them  was  prepared  to  give  his 
vote  then  upon  the  question  ;  that  the  situation  of  the  pub- 
lic funds  would  not  admit  of  lavishing  the  public  money,  but 
required  the  utmost  economy  and  frugality ;  that,  as  there 
was  a  large  representation  from  this  state,  an  immediate  de- 
cision would  save  the  country  a  considerable  sum  of  money. 
He  thought  it,  therefore,  prudent  to  put  the  question  imme- 

He  was  seconded  by  Mr.  PERSON,  who  added  to  the  reasoning  of  Mr 
Jones,  that  he  should  be  sorry  if  any  man  had  come  hither  without  ha? 
ing  determined  in  his  mind  a  question  which  must  have  been  so  long  the 
object  of  his  consideration. 

Mr.  IREDELL  then  arose,  and  addressed  the  president 
thus :  — 

Mr.  President,  I  am  very  much  surprised  at  the  motion 
which  has  been  made  by  the  gentleman  from  Halifax.  I  am 
greatly  astonished  at  a  proposal  to  decide  immediately,  with- 
out the  least  deliberation,  a  question  which  is  perhaps  the 
greatest  that  ever  was  submitted  to  any  body  of  men.  There 
is  no  instance  of  any  convention  upon  the  continent,  in 
which  the  subject  has  not  been  fully  debated,  except  in  those 
states  which  adopted  the  Constitution  unanimously.  If  it 
be  thought  proper  to  debate  at  large  an  act  of  Assembly, 
trivial  in  its  nature,  and  the  operation  of  which  may  continue 
but  a  few  months,  are  we  to  decide  on  this  great  and  impor- 
tant question  without  a  moment's  consideration  ?  Are  we 
to  give  a  dead  vote  upon  it?  If  so,  I  would  wish  to  know 
why  we  are  met  together.  If  it  is  to  be  resolved  now  by 
dead  votes,  it  would  have  been  better  that  every  elector,  in- 
stead of  voting  for  persons  to  come  here,  should,  in  their  re- 
spective counties,  have  voted  or  ballotted  for  or  against  the 
Constitution.  A  decision  by  that  mode  would  have  been 
as  rational  and  just  as  by  this,  and  would  have  been  better 
on  economical  principles,  as  it  would  have  saved  the  public 
Che  expense  of  our  meeting  here. 

Imdell.,  north  CAROLINA.  ^ 

This  is  a  subject  of  great  consideration.     It  is  a  Consti 
tutioQ  which  has  been  formed  after  much  deliberation.     It 
has  had  the  sanction  of  men  of  the  first  characters  for  their 
probity  and  understanding.     It  has  also  had  the  solemn  rati- 
fication of  ten  states  in  the  Union.     A  Constitution  like  this, 
sir,  ought  not  to  be  adopted  or  rejected  in  a  moment.     If,  in 
consequence  of  either,  we  should  involve  our  country  in 
misery  and  distress,  what  excuse  could  we  make  for  our  con- 
duct?    Is  it  reconcilable  with  our  duty  to  our  constituents? 
\Vould  it  be  a  conscientious  discharge  of  that  trust  which 
they  have  so  implicitly  reposed  in  us  ?     Shall  it  be  said,  sir, 
of  the  representatives  of  North  Carolina,  that  near  three 
hundred  of  them  assembled  for  the  express  purpose  of  de- 
liberating upon  the  most  important  question  that  ever  came 
before  a  people,  refused  to  discuss  it,  and  discarded  all  rea- 
soning as  useless  ?    It  is  undoubtedly  to  be  lamented  that  any 
addition  should  be  made  to  the  public  expense,  especially  at 
this  period,  when  the  public  funds  are  so  low ;  but  if  it  be 
ever  necessary  on  any  occasion,  it  is  necessary  on  this,  when 
the  question  perhaps  involves  the  safety  or  ruin  of  our  coun- 
try.    For  my  own  part,  I  should  not  choose  to  determine  on 
any  question  without  mature  reflection ;  and  on  this  occa- 
sion, my  repugnance  to  a  hasty  decision  is  equal  to  the  mag- 
nitude of  the  subject.     A  gentleman  has  said,  he  should  be 
sorry  if  any  member  had  come  here  without  having  deter- 
mined in  his  mind  on  a  subject  he  had  so  long  considered. 
I  should  be  sorry,  sir,  that  I  could  be  capable  of  coming  to 
this  house  predetermined  for  or  against  the  Constitution.     I 
readily  confess  my  present  opinion  is  strongly  in  its  favor. 
I  have  listened  to  every  objection,  that  I  had  an  opportunity 
of  hearing,  with  attention,  but  have  not  yet  heard  any  that  I 
thought  would  justify  its  rejection,  even  if  it  had  not  been 
adopted  by  so  many  states.     But  notwithstanding  this  favor- 
able opinion  I  entertain  of  it,  I  have  not  come  here  resolved, 
at  all  events,  to  vote  for  its  adoption.     I  have  come  here  for 
information,  and  to  judge,  after  all  that  can  be  said  upon  it, 
whether  it  really  merits  my  attachment  or  not.     My  constit- 
uents did  me  the  honor  to  elect  me  unanimously,  without  the 
least  solicitation  on  my  part.     They  probably  chose  me  be- 
cause my  sentiments  were  the  same  with  their  own.     But 
highly  as  I  value  this  honor,  and  much  as  I  confess  my  am- 
bition prompted  me  to  aspire  to  it,  had  I  been  told  that  I 


a  DEBATES.  [Ibbdeu. 

should  not  be  elected  unless  I  pronoised  to  obey  their  direc- 
tions, I  should  have  disdained  to  serve  on  such  dishonorable 
terms.  Sir,  I  shall  vote  perfectly  independent,  and  shall 
certainly  avow  a  change  of  my  present  opinion,  if  I  can  be 
convinced  it  is  a  wrong  one.  I  shall  not,  in  such  a  case,  be 
restrained  by  the  universal  opinion  of  the  part  of  the  country 
from  which  I  came.  I  shall  not  be  afraid  to  go  back,  and 
tell  my  constituents,  "Gentlemen,  I  have  been  convinced  I 
was  in  an  error.  I  found,  on  consideration,  that  the  opinion 
which  I  had  taken  up  was  ill  founded,  and  have  voted  ac- 
cording to  my  sincere  sentiments  at  the  time,  though  con- 
trary to  your  wishes.''  I  know  that  the  honor  and  integrity  of 
my  constituents  are  such,  that  they  would  approve  of  my  act- 
ing on  such  principles,  rather  than  any  other.  They  are  the 
principles,  however,  I  think  it  my  duty  to  act  upon,  and 
shall  govern  my  conduct. 

This  Constitution  ought  to  be  discussed  in  such  a  manner 
that  every  possible  light  may  be  thrown  upon  it.  If  those 
gentlemen  who  are  so  sanguine  in  their  opinion  that  it  is  a 
bad  government  will  freely  unfold  to  us  the  reasons  on 
which  their  opinion  is  founded,  perhaps  we  may  all  concur 
in  it.  I  flatter  myself  that  this  Convention  will  imitate  the 
conduct  of  the  conventions  of  other  states,  in  taking  the 
best  possible  method  of  considering  its  merits,  by  debating 
it  article  by  article.  Can  it  be  supposed  that  any  gentle- 
men here  are  so  obstinate  and  tenacious  of  their  opinion, 
that  they  will  not  recede  from  it  when  they  hear  strong  rea- 
sons offered  ?  Has  not  every  gentleman. here,  almost,  received 
useful  knowledge  from  a  communication  with  others  ?  Have 
not  many  of  the  members  of  this  house,  when  members  of 
Assembly,  frequently  changed  their  opinions  on  subjects  of 
legislation  ?  If  so,  surely  a  subject  of  so  complicated  a  na- 
ture, and  which  involves  such  serious  consequences,  as  this, 
requh'es  the  most  ample  discussion,  that  we  may  derive  every 
information  that  can  enable  us  to  form  a  proper  judgment. 
I  hope,  therefore,  that  we  shall  imitate  the  laudable  example 
of  the  other  states,  and  go  into  a  committee  of  the  whole 
house,  that  the  Constitution  may  be  discussed  clause  by 

I  trust  we  shall  not  go  home  and  tell  our  constituents  that 
we  met  at  Hillsborough,  were  afraid  to  enter  into  a  discus- 
sion of  the  subject,  but  precipitated  a  decision  viithout  a 
moment's  consideration. 

GiuowAY.]  NORTH  CAROUNA.  > 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES.     Mr.  President,  my  reasoji^  for 

proposing  an  immediate  decision  were,  that  I  was  prepared 

to  give   my  vote,  and  believed  that   others   were    equally 

prepared  as  myself.      If  gentlemen  differ  from  me  in  the 

propriety  of  this  motion,  I  will  submit.     I  agree  with  the 

geolleman  that  economical  considerations  are  not  of  equal 

importance  with  the  magnitude  of  the  subject.    He  said  that 

it  nould  have  been  better,  at  once,  for  the  electors  to  vote 

in  their  respective  counties  than  to  decide  it  here  without 

diseussioQ.     Does  he  forget  that  the  act  of  Assembly  points 

out  another  mode  ? 

Mr.  IREDELL  replied,  that  what  he  meant  was,  that 
the  Assembly  might  as  well  have  required  that  the  electors 
should  vote  or  ballot  for  or  against  the  Constitution  in  their 
respective  counties,  as  for  the  Convention  to  decide  it  in 
this  precipitate  manner. 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY.  Mr.  President,  I  had  no 
supposition  that  the  gentlemsm  on  my  right  (Mr.  Jones)  was 
afraid  of  a  discussion.  It  is  not  so  with  me,  nor  do  I  be- 
lieve that  it  is  so  with  any  gentleman  here.  I  do  not  like 
such  reflections,  and  am  surprised  that  gentlemen  should 
make  them. 

Mr.  IREDELL  declared  that  he  meant  not  to  reflect  on 
any  gentleman ;  but,  for  his  part,  he  would  by  no  means 
choose  to  go  home  and  tell  his  constituents  that  he  had  voted 
without  any  previous  consideration. 

Afler  some  desultory  conversation,  the  Convention  adjourned  till 
Uymorrow,  iO  o'clock. 

Thursday,  July  24,  1788. 
The  Convention  met  according  to  adjournment 

Rev.  Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  President,  the  subject 
before  us  is  of  a  complicated  nature.  In  order  to  obviate 
the  difficulty  attending  its  discussion,  I  conceive  that  it  will 
be  necessary  to  lay  down  such  rules  or  maxims  as  ought  to 
be  the  fundamental  principles  of  every  free  government : 
and  after  laying  down  such  rules,  to  compare  the  Constitu- 
tion with  them,  and  see  whether  it  has  attended  to  them ; 
for  if  it  be  not  founded  on  such  principles,  it  cannot  be 
proper  for  our  adoption.  [Here  he  read  those  rules  which 
he  said  appeared  to  him  most  proper.] 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY.     Mr.  President,  I   had  thr 

8  DEBATES.  [Datib 

honor  yesterday  of  proposing  the  mode  which  I  thought 
most  eligible  for  our  proceeding.  I  wish  the  subject  to  be 
fairly,  coolly,  and  candidly  discussed,  that  we  may  not  go 
away  without  knowing  why  we  came  hither.  My  intention 
is,  that  we  should  enter  into  a  committee  of  the  whole  house, 
where  we  shall  be  at  liberty  to  discuss  it.  Though  I  do  not 
object  to  the  proposition  of  the  honorable  member,  as  the 
groundwork  of  our  proceeding,  I  hope  he  will  withdraw  his 
motion,  and  I  shall  second  him  in  the  committee. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  had  no  objection  to  that  proposition. 

Mr.  PERSON  op|X)sed  the  motion  of  entering  into  a 
committee.  He  conceived  it  would  be  a  useless  waste  of 
time,  as  they  would  be  obliged  to  reconsider  the  whole  Con- 
stitution in  Convention  again. 

Mr.  DAVIE  largely  expatiated  on  the  necessity  of  en- 
tering into  a  committee.  He  said,  that  the  legislature,  in 
voting  so  large  a  representation,  did  not  mean  that  they 
should  go  away  without  investigating  the  subject,  but  that 
their  collective  information  should  be  more  competent  to  a 
just  decision  ;  that  the  best  means  was,  to  deliberate  and 
( onfer  together  like  plain,  honest  men.  He  did  not  know 
how  the  ardor  of  opposition  might  operate  upon  some  gen- 
tlemen, yet  he  trusted  that  others  had  temper  and  modera- 
tion. He  hoped  that  the  motion  of  the  member  from  Rock- 
ingham would  be  agreed  to,  and  that  the  Constitution  would 
be  discussed  clause  by  clause.  He  then  observed,  that,  if  they 
laid  down  a  number  of  original  principles,  they  must  go 
through  a  double  investigation ;  that  it  would  be  necessary 
to  establish  these  original  principles,  and  compare  them 
with  the  Constitution  ;  that  it  was  highly  improbable  that 
they  should  agree  on  those  principles ;  that  he  had  a  respect 
for  the  understanding  of  the  honorable  member,  and  trusted 
he  would  reflect,  that  difference  in  opinion  arose  from  the 
nature  of  things ;  and  that  a  great  deal  of  time  might  be 
taken  up  to  no  purpose,  if  they  should  neither  agree  on  those 
principles  nor  their  application.  He  said,  he  hoped  they 
would  not  treat  this  important  business  like  a  military  en- 
terprise, but  proceed  upon  it  like  a  deliberative  body,  and 
that  the  debates  would  be  conducted  with  decency  and 

The  Convention  then  resolved  itself  into  a  committee  of  the  whole 
Uoiise,  Mr.  Elisha  Battle  in  the  chair. 

Caldwell.]  NORTH  CAROUNA.  b 

Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  those  maxims  whicii 
1  conceive  to  be  the  fundamental  principles  of  every  safe 
and  free  government,  are  —  1st.  A  government  is  a  compact 
between  the  rulers  and  the  people.  2d.  Such  a  compact 
ought  to  be  lawful  in  itself.  3d.  It  ought  to  be  lawfully 
executed.  4th.  Unalienable  rights  ought  not  to  be  given 
up,  if  not  necessary.  3th.  The  compact  ought  to  be  mutual. 
And,  6th.  It  ought  to  be  plain,  obvious,  and  easily  under- 
stood. Now,  sir,  if  these  principles  be  just,  by  comparing 
the  Constitution  with  them,  we  shall  be  able  to  judge 
whether  it  is  fit  for  our  adoption. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  concur  entirely  in 
the  sentiments  lately  urged  by  the  gentleman  from  Halifax, 
and  am  convinced  we  shall  be  involved  in  very  great  diffi- 
culties if  we  adopt  the  principles  offered  by  the  gentleman 
from  Guilford.  To  show  the  danger  and  impolicy  of  this 
proceeding,  I  think  I  can  convince  the  committee  in  a  mo- 
ment, that  his  very  first  principle  is  erroneous.  In  other 
countries,  where  the  origin  of  government  is  obscure,  and 
its  formation  different  from  ours,  government  may  be  deemed 
a  contract  between  the  rulers  and  the  people.  What  is  the 
consequence?  A  compact  cannot  be  annulled  but  by  the 
consent  of  both  parties;  therefore,  unless  the  rulers  are 
guilty  of  oppression,  the  people,  on  the  principle  of  a  com- 
pact, have  no  right  to  new-model  their  government.  This 
is  held  to  be  the  principle  of  some  monarchical  governments 
in  Europe.  Our  government  is  founded  on  much  nobler 
principles.  The  people  are  known  with  certainty  to  have 
originated  it  themselves.  Those  in  power  are  their  servants 
and  agents;  and  the  people,  without  their  consent,  may 
new-model  their  government  whenever  they  think  proper, 
not  merely  because  it  is  oppressively  exercised,  but  because 
they  think  another  form  will  be  more  conducive  to  their 
welfare.  It  is  upon  the  footing  of  this  very  principle  that 
we  are  now  met  to  consider  of  the  Constitution  before  us. 
If  we  attempt  to  lay  down  any  rules  here,  it  will  take  us*  as 
much  time  to  establish  their  validity  as  to  consider  the  system 

Mr.  CALDWELL  observed,  that,  though  this  government 
did  not  resemble  the  European  governments,  it  still  partook 
«/  the  nature  of  a  compact ;  that  he  conceived  those  prin- 
ciples which  he  proposed  to  be  just,  but  was  willing  that 

VDL.    IV.  2 

10  DEBATES.  [Irbdbll 

an  J  otheis,  which  should  be  thought  better,  should  be  sub- 
stituted in  their  place. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  has 
taken  his  principles  from  sources  which  cannot  hold  here. 
In  England,  the  government  is  a  compact  between  the  king 
and  the  people.  I  hope  it  is  not  so  here.  We  shall  have 
no  officers  in  the  situation  of  a  king.  The  people  here  are 
the  origin  of  all  power.  Our  governors  are  elected  tempo 
rarily.  We  can  remove  them  occasionally,  and  put  others  in 
their  stead.  We  do  not  bind  ourselves.  We  are  to  consider 
whether  this  system  will  promote  our  happiness. 

Mr.  GOUDY.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  wonder  that  these  gentle- 
men, learned  in  the  law,  should  quibble  upon  words.  I  care 
not  whether  it  be  called  a  compact^  agreement^  covefiantj  bar- 
gaijiy  or  what.  Its  intent  is  a  concession  of  power,  on  the 
part  of  the  people,  to  their  rulers.  We  know  that  private 
interest  governs  mankind  generally.  Power  belongs  origin- 
ally to  the  people ;  but  if  rulers  be  not  well  guarded,  that 
power  may  be  usurped  from  them.  People  ought  to  be 
cautious  in  giving  away  power.  These  gentlemen  say  there 
is  no  occasion  for  general  nrles:  every  one  has  one  for 
himself.  Every  one  has  an  unalienable  right  of  thinking 
for  himself.  There  can  be  no  inconvenience  from  laying 
down  general  rules.  If  we  give  away  more  power  than  we 
ought,  we  put  ourselves  in  the  situation  of  a  man  who  puts 
on  an  iron  glove,  which  he  can  never  tadke  off  till  he  breaks 
his  arm.  Let  us  beware  of  the  iron  glove  of  tyranny. 
Power  is  generally  taken  from  the  people  by  imposing  on 
their  understanding,  or  by  fetters.  Let  us  lay  down  certain 
rules  to  govern  our  proceedings.  It  will  be  highly  proper,  in 
my  opinion,  and  I  very  much  wonder  that  gentlemen  should 
object  to  it. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  who 
spoke  last  mistook  what  the  gentleman  from  Wilmington 
and  myself  have  said.  In  my  opinion,  there  ought  to  be  a 
line  drawn,  as  accurately  as  possible,  between  the  power 
which  is  given  and  that  which  is  retained.  In  this  system, 
the  line  is  most  accurately  drawn  by  the  positive  grant  of 
the  powers  of  the  general  government.  But  a  compact  be- 
tween the  rulers  and  the  ruled,  which  gentlemen  compare 
this  government  with,  is  certainly  not  the  principle  of  our 
government.     Will  any  man  say  that,  if  there  be  a  compart, 


it  can  be  altered  without  the  consent  of  Ixyth  parties  ?  Those 
who  govern,  unless  they  grossly  abuse  their  trust,  (which  is 
held  an  implied  violation  of  the  compact,  and  therefore  a 
dissolution  of  it,)  have  a  right  to  say  they  do  not  choose  the 
government  should  be  changed.  But  have  any  of  the  officers 
of  our  government  a  right  to  say  so  if  the  people  choose  to 
chauge  it  ?  Surely  they  have  not.  Therefore,  as  a  general 
principle,  it  can  never  apply  to  a  government  where  the 
people  are  avowedly  the  fountain  of  all  power.  I  have  no 
manner' of  objection  to  the  most  explicit  declaration  that  all 
power  depends  upon  the  people ;  because,  though  it  will  not 
strengthen  their  rights,  it  may  be  the  means  of  fixing  them 
on  a  plainer  foundation.  One  gentleman  has  said  that  we 
were  quibbling  upon  words.  If  I  know  my  own  heart,  I  am 
incapable  of  quibbling  on  words.  I  act  on  as  independent 
principles  as  any  gentleman  upon  the  floor.  If  I  make  use 
of  quibbles,  there  are  gentlemen  here  who  can  correct  me. 

If  my  premises  are  w;rong,  let  them  be  attacked.  If  my 
conclusions  be  wrong,  let  me  be  put  right.  I  am  sorry  that, 
in  debating  on  so  important  a  subject,  it  could  be  thought 
that  we  were  disputing  about  words.  I  am  willing  to  apply 
as  much  time  as  is  necessary  for  our  delil>erations.  I  have 
no  objection  to  any  regular  way  of  discussing  the  subject ; 
but  this  way  of  proceeding  will  waste  time,  and  not  answer 
any  pur|)ose.  Will  it  not  be  in  the  power  of  any  gentleman, 
in  the  course  of  the  debates,  to  say  that  this  plan  militates 
against  those  principles  which  the  reverend  gentleman  rec- 
ommends? Will  it  not  be  more  proper  to  urge  its  incom- 
patibility with  those  principles  during  that  dis<!Ussion,  than 
to  attempt  to  establish  their  exclusive  validity  previous  to 
our  entering  upon  the  new  plan  of  government?  By  the 
former  mode,  those  rules  and  the  Constitution  may  be  con- 
sidered together.  By  the  latter,  much  time  may  be  wasted 
to  no  purpose.  I  trust,  therefore,  that  the  reverend  gentle- 
man will  withdraw  his  motion. 

Mr.  RUTHERFORD.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  conceive  those 
maxims  will  be  of  utility.  I  wish,  as  much  as  any  one,  to 
have  a  full  and  free  discussion  of  the  subject.  To  facilitate 
this  desirable  end,  it  seems  highly  expedient  that  some 
groandwork  should  be  laid,  some  line  drawn,  to  guide  our 
proceedings.  I  trust,  then,  that  the  reverend  gentleman'^ 
proposal  will  be  agreed  to. 

(2  DEBATES.  [Person 

Mr.  SPENCER.  I  conceive  that  it  will  retard  the  busi- 
ness to  accede  to  the  proposal  of  the  learned  gentleman. 
The  observation  which  has  been  made  in  its  behalf  does  not 
apply  to  the  present  circumstances.  When  there  is  a  king 
or  other  governor,  there  is  a  compact  between  him  and  the 
people.  It  is  then  a  covenant.  But  in  this  case,  in  regard 
to  the  government  which  it  is  proposed  we  should  adopt, 
there  are  no  governors  or  rulers,  we  being  the  people  who 
possess  all  power.  It  strikes  me  that,  when  a  society  of 
free  people  agree  on  a  plan  of  government,  there  are  no 
governors  in  existence ;  but  those  who  administer  the  gov- 
ernment are  their  servants.  Although  several  of  those  prin- 
ciples are  proper,  1  hope  they  will  not  be  part  of  one  dis- 
cussion, but  that  every  gentleman  will  consider  and  discuss 
the  subject  with  all  the  candor,  moderation,  and  deliberation, 
which  the  magnitude  and  importance  of  the  subject  require. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  observed,  that  he  would  agree  that 
any  other  word  should  be  substituted  to  the  word  compact; 
but,  after  all  that  had  been  said,  the  Constitution  appeared 
to  him  to  be  of  the  nature  of  a  compact.  It  could  not  be 
fully  so  called  till  adopted  and  put  in  execution;  when  so 
put  in  execution,  there  were  actual  governors  in  existence. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  President,  what  we  have  already  said 
may  convince  the  reverend  gentleman  what  a  long  time  it 
will  take  us  to  discuss  the  subject  in  the  mode  which  he 
has  proposed :  those  few  solitary  propositions  which  he  has 
put  on  paper,  will  make  but  a  small  part  of  the  principles 
of  this  Constitution.  I  wish  the  gentleman  to  reflect  how 
dangerous  it  is  to  confine  us  to  any  particular  rules.  This 
system  is  most  extensive  in  its  nature,  involving  not  only 
the  principles  of  governments  in  general,  but  the  compli- 
cated principles  of  federal  governments.  We  should  not, 
perhaps,  in  a  week  lay  down  all  the  principles  essential  to 
such  a  Constitution.  Any  gentleman  may,  in  the  course  of 
the  investigation,  mention  any  maxims  he  thinks  proper,  and 
compare  them  with  the  Constitution.  It  would  take  us  more 
time  to  establish  these  principles,  than  to  consider  the  Con- 
stitution itself.  It  will  be  wrong  to  tie  any  man's  hands.  1 
hope  the  question  will  be  put. 

Mr  PERSON  insisted  on  the  propriety  of  the  principles, 
and  that  tney  ought  to  be  laid  on  the  table  with  the  Dec- 
laration of  Rights,  Constitution  of  the  state,  and  the  Con- 

Iredell]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  1  J 

Mr  LENOIR  approved  of  the  principles,  but  disapproved 
of  being  bound  by  any  rules. 

Mr.  5IACLAINE  was  of  the  same  opinion  as  to  the  im- 
propriety of  iieins;  bound. 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  wished  to  leave  the  hands  of 
the  members  free,  but  he  thought  these  principles  were  un- 
exceptionable. He  saw  no  inconvenience  in  adopting  them, 
and  wished  they  would  be  agreed  to. 

Mr.  LENOIR  answered,  that  the  matter  had  been  largely 
debated.  He  siiid,  that  he  thought  the  previous  question 
ought  to  be  put,  whether  they  should  lay  down  certain  prin- 
ciples to  be  governed  by,  or  leave  every  man  to  judge  as  his 
own  breast  suggested. 

After  some  little  altercation,  the  previous  question  was  put 
—  for  the  principles,  90 ;  against  them,  163 ;  majority  against 
them,  73. 

His  excellency.  Gov.  JOHNSTON,  then  moved  to  discuss 
it  by  sections.  This  was  opposed,  because  it  would  take  up 
too  much  time. 

After  some  altercation  about  the  mode  of  considering  the 
Constitution,  Mr.  IREDELL  arose,  and  spoke  as  follows :  — 

Mr.  President,  whatever  delay  may  attend  it,  a  discussion 
is  indispensable.  We  have  been  sent  hither,  by  the  people, 
to  consider  and  decide  this  important  business  for  them. 
This  is  a  sacred  trust,  the  honor  and  importance  of  which,  I 
hope,  are  deeply  impressed  on  every  member  here.  We  ought 
to  discuss  this  Constitution  thoroughly  in  all  its  parts.  It 
was  useless  to  come  hither,  and  dishonorable,  unless  we  dis- 
charge that  trust  faithfully.  God  forbid  that  any  one  of  us 
should  be  determined  one  way  or  the  other.  I  presume  that 
every  man  thinks  it  his  duty  to  hold  his  mind  open  to  con- 
riction ;  thu  whatever  he  may  have  heard,  whether  against 
or  for  the  Constitution,  he  will  recede  from  his  present 
opinion,  if  reasons  of  sufficient  validity  are  offered.  The 
gentleman  from  Granville  has  told  us,  that  we  had  since 
March  to  consider  it,  and  that  he  hoped  every  member  was 
ready  to  give  his  vote  upon  it.  'Tis  true,  we  have  had  since 
that  time  to  consider  it,  and  I  hope  every  member  has  taken 
pains  to  inform  himself.  I  trust  they  have  conscientiously 
considered  it ;  that  they  have  read  on  both  sides  of  the  ques- 
tion, and  are  resolved  to  vote  according  to  the  dictates  of 
their  consciences.    I  can  truly  say,  that  I  believe  there  are  few 

members  in  this  house  who  have  taken  more  pains  to  con- 


14  DEBATES.  [Iredell 

sider  it  than  myself.  But  I  am  still  by  no  means  confident 
that  I  am  right.  I  have  scarcely  ever  conversed  on  the  sub- 
ject with  any  man  of  understanding,  who  has  not  thrown 
some  new  light  upon  the  subject  which  escaped  me  i)efore. 
Those  gentlemen  who  are  so  self-sufficient  that  they  believe 
that  they  are  never  in  the  wrong,  may  arrogate  infallibility  to 
themselves,  and  conclude  deliberation  to  be  useless.  For 
my  part,  1  have  often  known  myself  to  be  in  the  wrong,  and 
have  ever  wished  to  be  corrected.  There  is  nothing  dis- 
honorable in  changing  an  opinion.  Nothing  is  more  fallible 
than  himian  judgment.  No  gentleman  will  say  that  his  is 
not  fallible.  Mine,  I  am  sure,  has  often  proved  so.  The 
serious  importance  of  the  subject  merits  the  utmost  atten- 
tion ;  an  erroneous  decision  may  involve  truly  awful  and 
calamitous  consequences.  It  is  incumbent  on  us,  therefore, 
to  decide  it  with  the  greatest  deliberation.  The  Consti- 
tution is  at  least  entitled  to  a  regular  discussion.  It  has  had 
the  sanction  of  many  of  the  best  and  greatest  men  upon 
the  continent  —  of  those  very  men  to  whom,  perhaps,  we 
owe  the  privilege  of  debating  now.  It  has  also  been  adopted 
by  ten  states  since.  Is  it  prob:ible  that  we  are  less  fallible 
than  they  are?  Do  we  suppose  our  knowledge  and  wisdom 
to  be  su|)erior  to  their  aggregate  wisdom  and  information? 
I  agree  that  this  question  ought  to  be  determined  on  the 
footing  of  reason,  and  not  on  that  of  authority ;  and  if  it 
be  found  defective  and  unwise,  I  shall  be  for  rejecting  it ; 
but  it  is  neither  decent  nor  right  to  refuse  it  a  fair  trial.  A 
system  supported  by  such  characters  merits  at  least  a  serious 
consideration.  I  hope,  therefore,  that  the  Constitution  will 
be  taken  up  paragraph  by  paragraph.  It  will  then  be  in 
the  power  of  any  gentlemen  to  offer  his  opinion  on  every 
part,  and  by  comparing  it  with  other  opinions,  he  may  obtain 
useful  information.  If  the  Constitution  be  so  defective  as 
it  is  represented,  then  the  inquiry  will  terminate  in  favor  of 
those  who  oppose  it.  But  if,  as  I  believe  and  hope,  it  be 
discovered  to  be  so  formed  as  to  be  likely  to  promote  the 
happiness  of  our  country,  then  I  hope  the  decision  will  be, 
accordingly,  in  its  favor.  Is  there  any  gentleman  so  in- 
different to  a  union  with  our  sister  states,  as  to  hazard  dis- 
union rashly,  without  considering  the  consequences?  Had 
my  opinion  been  different  from  what  it  is,  I  am  sure  I 
should  have  hesitated  and  reflected  a  long  time  before  I  had 
offered  it  against  such  respectable  authorities.     1  am  sorry 


iur  the  exi)ense  which  may  be  incurred,  when  the  community 
is  so  distressed  ;  but  this  is  a  trivial  consideration  compared 
to  the  consequences  of  a  rash  proceeding  upon  this  impor- 
tant question.     Were  any  member  to  determine  against  it 
without  proper  consideration,  and  afterwards,  upon  his  return 
home,  on  an  impartial  consideration,  to  be  convinced  it  was  a 
good  system,  bis  reflections  on  the  temerity  and  precipitation 
of  his  conduct  might  destroy  his  peace  of  mind  forever.     I 
doubt  not  the  members  in  general  who  condemn  it,  do  so 
from  a  sincere  belief  that  the  system  is  a  liad  one ;  but  at 
the  same  time,  I  believe  there  are  many  who. are  ready  to 
relii^quish  that  opinion,  if  they  can  be  convinced  it  is  er- 
roneous, and  that  they  sincerely  wish  for  a  fair  and  full  dis- 
cussion of  the  subject.     For  these  reasons  I  am  of  opinion 
that  the  motion  made  by  the  honorable  member  is  proper  to 
be  adopted. 

Mr.  RUTHERFORD  was  surprised  at  the  arguments 
used  by  gentlemen,  and  wished  to  know  how  they  should 
Fote,  whether  on  the  paragraphs,  and  how  the  report  should 
be  made  when  the  committee  rose. 

His  excellency.  Gov.  JOHNSTON.  If  we  reject  any  one 
part,  we  reject  the  whole.  We  are  not  to  form  a  constitu- 
dou,  but  to  say  whether  we  shall  adopt  a  Constitution  to 
which  ten  states  have  already  acceded.  If  we  think  it  a 
bad  government,  it  is  not  binding  to  us ;  we  can  reject  it. 
If  it  be  proper  for  our  adoption,  we  may  adopt  it.  But 
a  rejection  of  a  single  article  will  amount  to  a  rejection  of 
the  whole. 

Mr.  RUTHERFORD.  The  honorable  gentleman  has 
tttistaken  me.  Sorry  I  am  that  it  is  so  late  taken  up  by  North 
Carolina,  if  we  are  to  be  influenced  and  persuaded  in  this 
manner.  I  am  unhappy  to  hear  gentlemen  of  learning  and 
integrity  f)reach  up  the  doctrine  of  adoption  by  ten  states 
Sir,  it  is  my  opinion  that  we  ought  to  decide  it  as  if  no  state 
had  adopted  it.  Are  we  to  be  thus  intimidated  into  a 
measure  of  which  we  may  disapprove  ? 

The  question  was  then  put,  and  carried  by  a  great  majority,  to  discuss 
(tte  CoQstitution  chuse  by  clause. 
The  preamble  of  the  Constitution  was  then  read. 

Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  if  they  mean,  fVe, 
the  people,  —  the  people  at  large,  —  I  conceive  the  expres- 
sion is  improper.     Were  not  they  who  framed  this  Constitu- 

16  D£BATES.  [Davib 

tion  the  representatives  of  the  legislatures  of  the  different 
states  ?  In  my  opinion,  they  had  no  power,  from  the  people 
at  large,  to  use  their  name,  or  to  act  for  them.  They  were 
not  delegated  for  that  purpose. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  The  reverend  gentleman  has  told  us, 
that  the  expression,  fTe,  the  people,  is  wrong,  because  the 
gentlemen  who  framed  it  were  not  the  representatives  of  the 
people.  I  readily  grant  that  they  were  delegated  by  states. 
But  they  did  not  think  that  they  were  the  people,  but  in- 
tended it  for  the  people,  at  a  future  day.  The  sanction  of 
the  state  legislatures  was  in  some  degree  necessary.  It  was 
to  be  submitted  by  the  legislatures  to  the  people ;  so  that, 
when  it  is  adopted,  it  is  the  act  of  the  people.  When  it  is 
the  act  of  the  people,  their  name  is  certainly  proper.  This 
is  very  obvious  and  plain  to  any  capacity. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  observation  of  the  rev- 
erend gentleman  is  grounded,  I  suppose,  on  a  supposition 
that  the  Federal  Convention  exceeded  their  powers.  This 
objection  has  been  industriously  circulated ;  but  I  believe,  on 
a  candid  examination,  the  prejudice  on  which  this  error  is 
founded  will  be  done  away.  As  I  had  the  honor,  sir,  to  be  a 
member  of  the  Convention,  it  may  be  expected  I  would 
answer  an  objection  personal  in  its  nature,  and  which  con- 
tains rather  a  reflection  on  our  conduct,  than  an  objection 
to  the  merits  of  the  Constitution.  After  repeated  and  de- 
cisive proofs  of  the  total  inefficiency  of  our  general  government, 
the  Slates  deputed  the  members  of  the  Convention  to  revise 
and  strengthen  it.  And  permit  me  to  call  to  your  considera- 
tion that,  whatever  form  of  confederate  government  they 
might  dense,  or  whatever  powers  they  might  propose  to  give 
this  new  government,  no  part  of  it  was  binding  until  the 
whole  Constitution  had  received  the  solemn  assent  of  the 
people.  What  was  the  object  of  our  mission?  "To  decide 
upon  the  most  eflfectual  means  of  removing  the  defects  of  our 
federal  union."  This  is  a  general,  discretional  authority  to 
propose  any  alteration  they  thought  proper  or  necessary. 
Were  not  the  state  legislatures  afterwards  to  review  our  pro- 
ceedings ?  Is  it  not  immediately  through  their  recommenda- 
tion that  the  plan  of  the  Convention  is  submitted  to  the 
people  ?  And  this  plan  must  still  remain  a  dead  letter,  or 
receive  its  operation  from  the  fiat  of  this  Convention.  AI 
though  the  Federal   Convention  might  recommend  the  con- 

Datie]  north   CAROLINA.  17 

cession  of  the  most  extensive  powers,  yet  they  could  not  put 
one  of  them  into  execution.  What  have  the  Convention 
done  that  can  merit  this  species  of  censure  ?  They  have 
odI)  recommended  a  plan  of  government  containing  some 
additional  powers  to  those  enjoyed  under  the  present  feeble 
system ;  amendments  not  only  necessary,  but  which  were  the 
express  object  of  the  deputation.  When  we  investigate 
this  system  candidly  and  accurately,  and  compare  all  its 
parts  with  one  another,  we  shall  find  it  absolutely  necessary 
to  confirm  these  powers,  in  order  to  secure  the  tranquillity  of 
the  states  and  the  liberty  of  the  people.  Perhaps  it  would 
be  necessary,  to  form  a  true  judgment  of  this  important 
question,  to  state  some  events,  and  develop  some  of  those 
defects,  which  gave  birth  to  the  late  Convention,  and  which 
have  produced  this  revolution  in  our  federal  government. 
With  the  indulgence  of  the  committee,  I  will  attempt  this 
detail  with  as  much  precision  as  I  am  capable  of.  The 
general  objects  of  the  union  are,  1st,  to  protect  us  against 
foreign  invasion ;  2d,  to  defend  us  against  internal  commo- 
tions and  insurrections;  3d,  to  promote  the  commerce,  agri- 
culture, and  manufactures,  of  America.  These  objects  are 
requisite  to  make  us  a  safe  and  happy  people,  and  they  can- 
not he  attained  without  a  firm  and  efficient  system  of  union. 

\s  to  the  first,  we  cannot  obtain  any  effectual  protection 
from  the  present  Confederation.  It  is  indeed  universally 
acknowledged,  that  its  inadequacy  in  this  case  is  one  of  its 
greitest  defects.  Examine  its  ability  to  repel  invasion.  In 
the  late  glorious  war,  its  weakness  was  unequivocally  experi- 
enced. It  is  well  known  that  Congress  had  a  discretionary 
right  to  raise  men  and  money ;  but  they  had  no  power  to  do 
either.  In  order  to  preclude  the  necessity  of  examining  the 
whole  progress  of  its  imbecility,  permit  me  to  call  to  your 
recollection  one  single  instance.  When  the  last  great  stroke 
was  made  which  humbled  the  pride  of  Britain,  and  put  us  in 
possession  of  peace  and  independence,  so  low  were  the 
finances  and  credit  of  the  United  States,  that  our  army  could 
not  move  from  Philadelphia,  until  the  minister  of  his  most 
Chnstian  majesty  was  prev:uled  upon  to  draw  bills  to  defray 
the  expense  of  the  expedition.  These  were  not  obtained 
on  the  credit  or  interest  of  Congress,  but  by  the  personal 
nfliience  of  the  commander-in-chief. 

Had  this  great  project  miscarried,  what  fatal  events  might 

VOL.  IV.  3 

18  DEBATES.  [DAvit 

have  ensued  I  It  is  a  very  moderate  presumption,  that  what 
has  once  happened  may  happen  again.  The  next  important 
consideration,  which  is  involved  in  the  external  powers  of  the 
Union,  are  treaties.  Without  a  power  in  the  federal  govern- 
ment to  compel  the  performance  of  our  engagements  with 
for(»ign  nations,  we  shall  be  perpetually  involved  in  de- 
structive wars.  The  Confederation  is  extremely  defective  in 
this  point  also.  I  shall  only  mention  the  British  treaty  as  a 
siuisfactory  proof  of  this  melancholy  fact.  It  is  well  known 
that,  although  this  treaty  was  ratified  in  1784,  it  required 
the  sanction  of  a  law  of  North  Carolina  in  1787;  and  that 
our  enemies,  presuming  on  the  weakness  of  our  federal 
government,  have  refused  to  deliver  up  several  important 
|K)sts  within  the  territories  of  the  United  States,  and  still 
liold  them,  to  our  shame  and  disgrace.  It  is  unnecessary  to 
reason  on  facts,  the  perilous  consequences  of  which  must  in 
a  mouH»nt  strike  every  mind  capable  of  reflection. 

The  next  head  under  which  the  general  government  may 
Im»  considered,  is  the  regulation  of  commerce.  The  United 
Statt^s  should  be  empowered  to  compel  foreign  nations  into 
eonnuercial  regulations  that  were  either  founded  on  the  prin- 
ciple's of  justice  or  reciprocal  advantages.  Has  the  present 
( IcnUederation  effected  any  of  these  things?  Is  not  our 
ronunerce  equally  unprotected  abroad  by  arms  and  negotia- 
ticui  ?  Nations  have  refused  to  enter  into  treaties  with  us. 
What  was  the  language  of  the  British  court  on  a  proposition 
of  this  kind?  Such  as  would  insult  the  pride  of  any  man 
of  fec^ling  and  independence.  —  "You  can  make  engagements, 
bill  yoii  fiinnot  compel  your  citizens  to  com[)ly  with  them. 
Wo  derive  greater  profits  from  the  present  situation  of  your 
eoiiimeree  than  we  could  expect  under  a  treaty;  and  you 
have  no  kind  of  power  that  can  compel  us  to  surrender  any 
advantage  to  you."  This  was  the  language  of  our  enemies  ; 
and  while  our  government  remains  as  fc^eble  as  it  has  been, 
no  nation  will  form  any  connection  with  us  that  will  involve 
the  relinquishment  of  the  least  advantage.  What  has  been 
the  eonse<|iienee  ?  A  general  decay  of  trade,  the  rise  of  im 
porttMl  merchandise,  the  fall  of  produce,  and  an  uncommon 
di»erenst»  of  the  value  of  lands.  Foreigners  have  been 
reaping  the  benefits  and  emoluments  which  our  citizens 
ouf»ht  to  enjoy  An  unjustifiable  perversion  of  justice  has 
|H*rvaded  almost  all   the  states,  and  every  thing  presented  to 

Datie.]  north  CAROLINA.  19 

our  view  a  spectacle  of  public  poverty  and  private  wretch- 
edness ! 

While  this  is  a  true  representation  of  our  situation,  can  oui 
general  government  recur  to  the  ordinary  expedient  of  loans? 
During  the  late  war,  large  sums  were  advanced  to  us  by 
foreign  states  and  individuals.  Congress  have  not  been 
enabled  to  pay  even  the  interest  of  these  debts,  with  honor 
and  punctuality.  The  requisitions  made  on  the  states  have 
been  every  where  unproductive,  and  some  of  them  have  not 
paid  a  stiver.  These  debts  are  a  part  of  the  price  of  our 
liberty  and  independence — debts  which  ought  to  be  re- 
garded with  gratitude  and  discharged  with  honor.  Yet 
many  of  the  individuals  who  lent  us  money  in  the  hour 
of  our  distress,  are  now  reduced  to  indigence  in  conse- 
quence of  our  delinquency.  So  low  and  hopeless  are  the 
finances  of  the  United  States,  that,  the  year  before  last. 
Congress  were  obliged  to  borrow  money  even  to  pay  the 
interest  of  the  principal  which  we  had  borrowed  before. 
This  wretched  resource  of  turning  interest  into  principal,  is 
the  most  humiliating  and  disgraceful  measure  that  a  nation 
could  take,  and  approximates  with  rapidity  to  absolute  ruin. 
Yet  it  is  the  inevitable  and  certain  consequence  of  such  a 
system  as  the  existing  Confederation. 

There  are  several  other  instances  of  imbecility  in  that 
system.  It  cannot  secure  to  us  the  enjoyment  of  our  own 
territories,  or  even  the  navigation  of  gur  own  rivers.  The 
want  of  power  to  establish  a  uniform  rule  for  naturalization 
through  the  United  States  is  also  no  small  defect,  as  it  must 
unavoidably  be  productive  of  disagreeable  controversies  with 
foreign  natrons.  The  general  government  ought  in  this,  as 
in  every  other  instance,  to  possess  the  means  of  preserving 
the  peace  and  tranquillity  of  the  Union.  A  striking  proof 
of  the  necessity  of  this  power  recently  happened  in  Rhode 
Island :  A  man  who  had  run  off  with  a  vessel  and  cargo,  the 
property  of  some  merchants  in  Holland,  took  sanctuary  in 
that  place  :  application  was  made  for  him  as  a  citizen  of  the 
United  Netherlands  by  the  minister,  but,  as  he  had  taken  the 
oath  of  allegiance,  the  state  refused  to  deliver  him  up,  and 
protected  him  in  his  villany.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  pecu- 
liar situation  of  the  states  at  that  time,  fatal  consequences 
might  have  resulted  from  such  a  conduct,  and  the  contempt- 
ible state  of  Rhode  Island  might  have  involved  the  whole 
Uuion  in  a  war. 

20  DEBATES.  [DAvre. 

The  encroachments  of  some  states  on  the  rights  of  others, 
and  of  all  on  those  of  the  Confederacy,  are  incontestable 
proofs  of  the  weakness  and  imperfection  of  that  system. 
Maryland  lately  passed  a  law  granting  exclusive  privileges 
to  her  own  vessels,  contrary  to  the  Articles  of  the  Confeder- 
ation. Congress  had  neither  power  nor  influence  to  altei 
it ;  all  they  could  do  was  to  send  a  contrary  recommenda- 
tion. It  is  provided,  by  the  6th  Article  of  the  Confederation, 
that  no  compact  shall  be  made  between  two  or  more  states 
without  the  consent  of  Congress;  yet  this  has  been  recently 
violated  by  Virginia  and  Maryland,  and  also  by  Pennsylvania 
and  New  Jersey.  North  Carolina  and  Massachusetts  have 
had  a  considerable  body  of  forces  on  foot,  and  those  in  this 
state  raised  for  two  years,  notwithstanding  the  express  pro- 
vision in  the  Confederation  that  no  force  should  be  kept  up 
by  any  state  in  time  of  peace. 

As  to  internal  tranquillity,  —  without  dwelling  on  the  un- 
happy commotions  in  our  own  back  counties,  —  I  will  only  add 
that,  if  the  rebellion  in  Massachusetts  had  been  planned  and 
executed  with  any  kind  of  ability,  that  state  must  have  been 
ruined ;  for  Congress  were  not  in  a  situation  to  render  them 
any  assistance. 

Another  object  of  the  federal  union  is,  to  promote  the 
agriculture  and  manufactures  of  the  states  —  objects  in  which 
we  are  so  nearly  concerned;  Commerce,  sir,  is  the  nurse 
of  both.  The  merchant  furnishes  the  planter  with  such 
articles  as  he  cannot  manufacture  himself,  and  finds  him  a 
market  for  his  produce.  Agriculture  cannot  flourish  if  com- 
merce languishes;  they  are  mutually  dependent  on  each 
other.  Our  commerce,  as  I  have  before  observed,  is  unpro- 
tected abroad,  and  without  regulation  at  home,  and  in  this 
and  many  of  the  states  ruined  by  partial  and  iniquitous  laws 
—  laws  which,  instead  of  having  a  tendency  to  protect  prop- 
erty and  encourage  industry,  led  to  the  depreciation  of  the 
one,  and  destroyed  every  incitement  to  the  other  —  laws 
which  basely  warranted  and  legalized  the  payment  of  just 
debts  by  paper^  which  represents  nothing,  or  property  of 
very  trivial  value. 

These  are  some  of  the  leading  causes  which    brought 
forward  this  new  Constitution.     It  was  evidently  necessary 
to  infuse 'a  greater  portion  of  strength  into  the  national  gov 
ernment.     But  Congress  were  but  a  single  body,  with  whom 
it  was  dangerous  to  lodge  additional  powers.     Hence  arose 

DAfii-l  NORTH  CAROLINA.  ?l 

the  necessity  of  a  diflferent  organization.  In  order  to  form 
some  balance,  the  departments  of  government  were  separated, 
and  as  a  necessary  check,  the  legislative  body  was  composed 
oftwo  branches.  Steadiness  and  wisdom  are  better  insured 
when  there  is  a  second  branch,  to  balance  and  check  the  first 
The  stability  of  the  laws  will  be  greater  when  the  popular 
branch,  which  might  Jbe  influenced  by  local  views,  or  the 
violence  of  party,  is  checked  by  another,  whose  longer  con- 
tinuance in  office  will  render  them  more  experienced,  more 
temperate,  and  more  competent  to  decide  rightly. 

The  Confederation  derived  its  sole  support  from  the  state 
legislatures.  This  renderexl  it  weak  and  ineflectual.  It 
was  therefore  necessary  that  the  foundations  of  this  govern- 
meat  should  be  laid  on  the  broad  basis  of  the  people.  Yet 
the  state  governments  are  the  pillars  upon  which  this  gov- 
ernment is  extended  over  such  an  immense  territory,  and  are 
essential  to  its  existence.  The  House  of  Representatives 
are  immediately  elected  by  the  people.  The  senators  repre^ 
sent  the  sovereignty  of  the  states ;  they  are  directly  chosen 
by  the  state  legislatures,  and  no  legislative  act  can  be  done 
without  their  concurrence.  The  election  of  the  executive 
is  in  some  measure  under  the  control  of  the  legislatures  ot* 
the  stales,  the  electors  being  appointed  under  their  direction. 

The  difference,  in  point  of  magnitude  and  importance, 
ui  the  members  of  the  confederacy,  was  an  additional 
reason  for  the  division  of  the  legislature  into  two  branches, 
and  for  establishing  an  equality  of  suffrage  in  the  Senate. 
The  protection  of  the  small  states  against  the  ambition  and 
bfluence  of  the  larger  members,  could  only  he  effected  by 
arming  them  with  an  equal  power  in  one  branch  of  the  legis- 
lature. On  a  contemplation  of  this  matter,  we  shall  find 
that  the  jealousies  of  the  states  could  not  be  reconciled  any 
other  way.  The  lesser  states  would  never  have  concurred 
unless  this  check  had  been  given  them,  as  a  security  for  their 
political  existence,  against  the  power  and  encroachments  of 
the  great  states.  It  may  be  also  proper  to  observe,  that  the 
executive  is  separated  in  its  functions  from  the  legislature, 
as  well  as  the  nature  of  the  case  would  admit,  and  the  ju- 
diciary from  both. 

Another  radical  vice  in  the  old  system,  which  was  neces^ 
sary  to  be  corrected,  and  which  will  be  understood  without 
a  long  deduction  of  reasoning,  was,  that  it  legislated  on 
^t<!9,  iD^ead  of  individuals ;  and  that  its  powers  could  not 

2^  DEBATES.  [DAYih 

be  nxecuted  but  by  fire  or  hy  the  sword  —  by  military  force, 
and  not  by  the  intervention  of  the  civil  magistrate.  Every 
one  who  is  acquainted  with  the  relative  situation  of  the 
states,  and  the  genius  of  our  citizens,  must  acknowledge 
that,  if  the  government  was  to  be  carried  into  effect  by 
military  force,  the  most  dreadful  consequences  would  ensue. 
It.  would  render  the  citizens  of  America  the  most  implacable 
enemies  to  one  another.  If  it  could  be  carried  into  effect 
against  the  small  states,  yet  it  could  not  be  put  in  force 
against  the  larger  and  more  powerful  states.  It  was  there- 
fore absolutely  necessary  that  the  influence  of  the  magistrate 
should  be  introduced,  and  that  the  laws  should  be  carried 
home  to  individuals  themselves. 

In  the  formation  of  this  system,  many  difficulties  presented 
themselves  to  the  Convention. 

Every  member  saw  that  the  existing  system  would  ever 
be  ineffectual,  unless  its  laws  operated  on  individuals,  as 
military  coercion  was  neither  eligible  nor  practicable.  Their 
own  experience  was  fortified  by  their  knowledge  of  the  in- 
herent weakness  of  all  confederate  governments.  They 
knew  that  all  governments  merely  federal  had  been  short- 
lived, or  had  existed  from  principles  extraneous  from  their 
constitutions,  or  from  external  causes  which  had  no  depend- 
ence on  the  nature  of  their  governments.  These  consid- 
erations determined  the  Convention  to  depart  from  that 
solecism  in  politics  —  the  principle  of  legislation  for  states 
in  their  political  capacities. 

The  great  extent  of  country  appeared  to  some  a  formida- 
ble difficulty ;  but  a  confederate  government  appears,  at 
least  in  theory,  capable  of  embracing  the  various  interests  of 
the  most  extensive  territory.  Founded  on  the  state  govern- 
ments solely,  as  I  have  said  before,  it  would  be  tottering  and 
inefficient.  It  became,  therefore,  necessary  to  bottom  it  on 
the  people  themselves,  by  giving  them  an  immediate  interest 
and  agency  in  the  government.  There  was,  however,  some 
real  difficulty  in  conciliating  a  number  of  jarring  interests, 
arising  from  the  incidental  but  unalterable  diflerence  in  the 
states  in  point  of  territory,  situation,  climate,  and  rivalshij) 
in  commerce.  Some  of  .the  states  are  very  extensive,  others 
very  limited :  some  are  manufacturing  states,  others  merely 
agricultural:  some  of  these  are  exporting  states,  while  the 
carrying  and  navigation  business  are  in  the  possession  of 
others.     It  was  not  easy  to  reconcile  such  a  multiplicity  ot 

Taylor.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  2J 

discordant  and  clashing  interests.     Mutual  concessions  \^  *re  / 
necessary  to  come  to  any  concurrence.     A  plan  that  would 
promote  the  exclusive  interests  of  a  few  states  would  be  m- 
lurious  to  others.     Had  each  state  obstinately  insisted  on  ^ 
the  security  of  its   particular  local  advantages,  we  should 
never  have  come  tasi  conclusion.     Each,  therefore,  amicably 
and  wisely  relinquished  its  particular  views.     The  Federal 
Convention  have  told  you,  that  the  Constitution  which  they 
formed  "  was  the  result  of  a  spirit  of  amity,  and  of  tha\ 
mutual  deference  and  concession  which  the  peculiarity  of  ^ , 
their  political  situation  rendered  indispensable."     I  hope  the 
same  laudable  spirit  will    govern  this  Convention  in  their 
decision  on   this  important  question. 

The  business  of  the  Convention  was  to  amend  the  Con- 
federation by  giving  it  additional  powers.  The  present  form 
of  Congress  being  a  single  body,  it  was  thought  unsafe  to 
augment  its  powers,  without  altering  its  organization.  The 
act  of  the  Convention  is  but  a  mere  proposal,  similar  to  the 
production  of  a  private  pen.  I  think  it  a  government  which, 
if  adopted,  will  cherish  and  protect  the  happiness  and  liberty 
of  America;  but  I  hold  my  mind  open  to  conviction.  I 
am  ready  to  recede  from  my  opinion  if  it  be  proved  to  he 
ill-founded.  I  trust  that  every  man  here  is  equally  ready  to 
change  an  opinion  he  may  have  improperly  formed.  The 
\veakness  and  inefficiency  of  the  old  Confederation  produced 
the  necessity  of  calling  the  Federal  Convention.  Their  plan 
is  now  before  you;. and  I  hope,  on  a  deliberate  consideration, 
everv  man  will  see  the  necessitv  of  such  a  system.  It  has 
been  the  subject  of  much  jealousy  and  censure  out  of  doors. 
I  hope  gentlemen  will  now  come  forward  with  their  objec- 
tions, and  that  they  will  be  thrown  out  and  answered  with 
candor  and  moderation. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  wished  to  know  why  the  gentlemen 
who  were  delegated  by  the  states,  styled  themselves  fVcj 
(he  people.     He  said  that  he  only  wished  for  information. 

Mr.  IREDELL  answered,  that  it  would  be  easy  to  satisfy 
the  gentleman  ;  that  the  style,  fVe^  the  people,  was  not  to 
^  applied  to  the  members  themselves,  but  was  to  be  the 
St  vie  of  the  Constitution,  when  it  should  be  ratified  in  their 
respective  states. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  TAYLOR.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  very 
Hording  of  this   Constitution   seems  to   carry   with   it  an 

Z4  DEBATES.  [Maclaine. 

assumed  power.  fTe,  the  people^  is  surely  an  assumed 
power.  Have  they  said,  We,  the  delegates  of  the  people  ? 
it  seems  to  me  that,  when  they  met  in  Convention,  ihey 
assumed  more  power  than' was  given  them.  Did  the  people 
give  them  the  power  of  using  their  name  ?  This  power  was 
in  the  people.  They  did  not  give  it  up  to  the  members  of 
the  Convention.  If,  therefore,  they  had  not  this  power,  they 
assumed  it.  It  is  the  interest  of  every  man,  who  is  a  friend 
to  liberty,  to  oppose  the  assumption  of  power  as  soon  as 
possible.  I  see  no'  reason  why  they  assumed  this  pow^r. 
Matters  may  be  carried  still  farther.  This  is  a  consolidation 
of  all  the  states.  Had  it  said,  We^  the  states^  there  would 
have  been  a  federal  intention  in  it.  But,  sir,  it  is  clear  that 
a  consolidation  is  intended.  Will  any  gentleman  say  that  a 
consolidated  government  will  answer  this  country  ?  It  is 
too  large.  The  man  who  has  a  large  estate  cannot  manage 
it  with  convenience.  I  conceive  that,  in  the  present  case, 
a  consolidated  government  can  by  no  means  suit  the  genius 
of  the  people.  The  gentleman  from  Halifax  (Mr.  Davie) 
mentioned  reasons  for  such  a  government.  They  have  their 
weight,  no  doubt ;  but  at  a  more  ccmvenient  time  we  can 
show  their  futility.  We  see  plainly  that  men  who  come 
from  New  England  are  different  from  us.  They  are  igno- 
rant of  our  situation  ;  they  do  not  know  the  state  of  our 
country.  They  cannot  with  safety  legislate  for  us.  I  am 
astonished  that  the  servants  of  the  legislature  of  North 
Carolina  should  go  to  Philadelphia,  and,  instead  of  speaking 
of  the  state  of  North  Carolina,  should  speak  of  the  people. 
I  wish  to  stop  power  as  soon  as  possible ;  for  they- may  carry 
their  assumption  of  power  to  a  more  dangerous  length.  I 
wish  to  know  where  they  found  the  power  of  saying  We^ 
tlie  people,  and  of  consolidating  the  states. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  confess  myself  as- 
tonished to  hear  objections  to  the  preamble.  They  say  that 
the  delegates  to  the  Federal  Convention  assumed  powers 
which  were  not  granted  them;  that  they  ought  not  to  have 
used  the  words  fVe,  the  people.  That  they  were  not  the 
delegates  of  the  people,  is  universally  acknowledged.  The 
Constitution  is  only  a  mere  proposal.  Had  it  been  binding 
on  us,  there  might  be  a  reason  for  objecting.  After  they 
had  finished  the  plan,  they  proposed  that  it  should  be 
recommended  to  the  people  by  the  several  state  legislatures 


If  the  people  approve  of  it,  it  becomes  their  act.  Is  not  this 
merely  a  dispute  about  words,  without  any  meaning  what 
ever?  Suppose  any  gentleman  of  this  Convention  had 
drawn  up  this  government,  and  we  thought  it  a  good  one ; 
we  might  respect  his  intelligence  and  integrity,  but  It  would 
Bot  be  binding  upon  us.  We  might  adopt  it  if  we  thought 
it  a  proper  system,  and  then  it  would  be  our  act.  Suppose 
it  had  been  made  by  our  enemies,  or  had  dropped  from  the 
cloiids ;  wt:  might  adopt  it  if  we  found  it  proper  Tor  our 
adopcion.  By  whatever  means  we  found  it,  it  would  be  our 
act  as  soon  as  we  adopted  it.  It  is  no  more  than  a  blank 
till  it  be  adopted  by  the  people.  When  thnt  is  done  here, 
is  it  not  the  people  of  the  state  of  North  Carolina  that  do  it, 
joiued  with  the  people  of  the  other  states  who  have  adopted 
it?  The  expression  is,  then,  right.  But  the  gentleman 
has  gone  farther,  and  says  that  the  people  of  New  England 
are  different  from  us.  This  goes  against  the  Union  alto- 
gether. They  are  not  to  legislate  lor  us ;  we  are  to  be 
represented  as  well  as  they.  Such  a  futile  objection  strikes 
at  all  union.  We  know  that  without  union  we  should  not 
hare  been  debating  now.  1  hope  to  hear  no  more  objections 
of  this  trifling  nature,  but  that  we  shall  enter  into  the  spirit 
of  the  subject  at  once. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  observed,  that   he   only   wished   to 
fcttow  why  they  had  assumed  the  name  of  the  people. 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  trust  we 
shall  not  take  up  more  time  on  this  point.  I  shall  just  make 
a  few  remarks  on  what  has  been  said  by  the  gentleman  from 
Halifax.  He  has  gone  through  our  distresses,  and  those  of 
the  other  states.  As  to  the  weakness  of  the  Confederation, 
we  all  know  it.  A  sense  of  this  induced  the  different  states 
to  send  delegates  to  Philadelphia.  They  had  given  them 
certain  powers;  we  have  seen  them,  they  are  now  upon  the 
taWe.  The  result  of  their  deliberations  is  now  upon  the 
table  also.  As  they  have  gone  out  of  the  line  which  the 
states  pointed  out  to  them,  we,  the  people,  are  to  take  it  up* 
and  consider  it.  The  gentlemen  who  framed  it  have  ex- 
ceeded their  powers,  and  very  far.  They  will  be  able, 
perhaps,  to  give  reasons  for.  so  doing.  If  they  can  show  us 
ar  reasons,  we  will,  no  doubt,  take  notice  of  them.  But, 
on  the  other  hand,  if  our  civil  and  religious  liberties  are  not 
«cured,  and  pMper  checks  piovided,  we  hare  the  p^wer  in 
VOL.  IV.  4  8 

iti*  DEBATES.  [Johnston 

our  own  hands  to  do  with  it  as  we  think  proper.  I  hope 
gentlemen  will  permit  us  to  proceed. 

The  clerk  then  read  the  1st  section  of  the  1st  article. 

Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  am  sorry  to  be 
objecting,  but  I  apprehend  that  all  the  legislative  powers 
granted  by  this  Constitution  are  not  vested  in  a  Congress 
consisting  of  the  Senate  and  the  House  of  Representatives, 
because  the  Vice-President  has  a  right  to  put  a  check  on  it. 
This  is  known  to  every  gentleman  in  the  Convention.  How 
can  all  the  legislative  powers  granted  in  that  Constitution  be 
vested  in  the  Congress,  if  the  Vice-President  is  to  have  a  vote 
in  case  the  Senate  is  equally  divided  ?  I  ask  for  information, 
how  it  came  to  be  expressed  in  this  manner,  when  this  power 
is  given  to  the  Vice-President. 

Mr.  MACLAINE  declared,  that  he  did  not  know  what 
the  gentleman  meant. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  said,  that  the  Vice-President  is  made 
a  part  of  the  legislative  body,  although  there  was  an  express 
declaration,  that  all  the  legislative  powers  were  vested  in 
the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives,  and  that  he 
would  be  glad  to  know  how  these  things  consisted  together. 

Mr.  MACLAINE  expressed  great  astonishment  at  the 
gentleman's  criticism.  He  observed,  ibat  the  Vice-Presi- 
dent had  only  a  casting  vote  in  case  of  an  equal  division  in 
the  Senate  —  that  a  provision  of  this  kind  was  to  be  found 
in  all  deliberative  bodies  —  that  it  was  highly  useful  and  ex- 
pedient —  that  it  was  by  no  means  of  the  nature  of  a  check 
which  impedes  or  arrests,  but* calculated  to  prevent  the  oper- 
ation of  the  government  from  being  impeded  —  that,  if  the 
gentleman  could  show  any  legislative  power  to  be  given  to 
any  but  the  two  houses  of  Congress,  his  objection  would  be 
worthy  of  notice. 

Some  other  gentlemen  said,  they  were  dissatisfied  with 
Mr.  Machine's  explanation  —  that  the  Vice-President  was 
not  a  member  of  the  Senate,  but  an  officer  of  the  United 
States,  and  yet  had  a  legislative  power,  and  that  it  appeared 
to  them  inconsistent  —  that  it  would  have  been  more  proper 
to  have  given  the  casting  vote  to  the  President. 

His  excellency.  Gov.  JOHNSTOiN,  added  to  Mr.  Mac- 
hine's reasoning,  that  it  appeared  to  him  a  very  good  and 
proper  regulation  — that,  if  one  of  the  Senate  was  to  be  ap- 
|K)inted  Vice-President,  the  state  which  he  represented  would 

Maclaine.!  north  CAROLINA  21 

either  lose  a  vote  if  he  was  not  permitted  to  vote  ou  everj^ 
occasion,  or  if  he  was,  he  might,  in  some  instances,  have  two 
votes  —  that  the  President  was  already  possessed  of  the 
power  of  preventing  the  passage  of  a  law  by  a  bare  majority  ; 
vet  laws  were  said  not  to  be  made  by  the  President,  but  by 
the  two  houses  of  Congress  exclusively. 

Mr.  LENOIR.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  a  greater  objec- 
tion on  this  ground  than  that  which  has  just  been  mentioned. 
I  mean,  sir,  the  legislative  power  given  to  the  President 
himself.  It  may  be  admired  by  some,  but  not  by  me.  He, 
sir,  with  the  Senate,  is  to  make  treaties,  which  are  to  be  the 
supreme  law  of  the  land.  This  is  a  legislative  power  given 
to  the  President,  and  implies  a  contradiction  to  that  part 
which  says  that  all  legislative  power  is  vested  in  the  two 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  it  was  thought  better 
to  put  that  power  into  the  hands  of  the  senators  as  rep- 
resentatives of  the  states  —  that  thereby  the  interest  of 
every  state  was  equally  attended  to  in  the  formation  of  trea- 
ties —  but  that  it  was  not  considered  as  a  legislative  act 
at  all. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  is  an  objection 
against  the  inaccuracy  of  the  sentence.  I  humbly  conceive 
it  will  appear  accurate  on  a  due  attention.  After  a  bill  is 
passed  by  both  houses,  it  is  to  be  shown  to  the  President. 
Within  a  certain  time,  he  is  to  return  it.  If  he  disapproves 
of  it,  he  is  to  state  his  objections  in  writing ;  and  it  depends 
on  Congress  afterwards  to  say  whether  it  shall  be  a  law  or 
Dot.  Now,  sir,  I  humbly  apprehend  that,  whether  a  law 
passes  by  a  bare  majority,  or  by  two  thirds,  (which  are  re- 
quired to  concur  after  he  shall  have  stated  objections,)  what 
gives  active  operation  to  it  is,  the  will  of  the  senators  and 
representatives.  The  President  has  no  power  of  legislation. 
If  he  does  not  object,  the  law  passes  by  a  bare  majority;  and 
if  he  objects,  it  passes  by  two  thirds.  His  power  extends 
only  to  cause  it  to  be  reconsidered,  which  secures  a  greater 
probability  of  its  being  good.  As  to  his  power  with  respect 
to  treaties,  I  shall  offer  my  sentiments  on  it  wjien  we  come 
properly  to  it. 

Mr.  MACLAINE  intimated,  that  if  any  gentleman  was 
out  of  order,*  it  was  the  gentleman  from  Wilkes  (Mr.  Le- 

Somethinfr  Had  been  said  aboot  order  which  was  not  distinctly  heard 


noir)  —  that  treaties  were  the  supreme  law  of  the  land  in 
all  countries,  for  the  most  obvious  reasons  —  that  laws,  or 
legislative  acts,  operated  upon  individuals,  but  that  treaties 
acted  upon  states  —  that,  unless  they  were  the  supreme  law 
of  the  land,  they  could  have  no  validity  at  all  —  that  the 
President  did  not  act  in  this  case  as  a  legislator,  but  rather 
in  his  executive  capacity. 

Mr.  LENOIR  replied  that  he  wished  to  be  conformable 
to  the  rules  of  the  house  ;  but  he  still  thought  the  President 
was  possessed  of  legislative  powers,  while  he  could  make 
treaties,  joined  with  the  Senate. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  think  the  gentleman 
is  in  order.  When  treaties  are  made,  they  become  as  valid 
as  legislative  acts.  I  apprehend  that  every  act  of  the  gov- 
ernment, legislative,  executive,  or  Judicial,  if  in  pursuance 
of  a  constitutional  power,  is  the  law  of  the  land.  These  dif- 
ferent acts  become  the  acts  of  the  state  by  the  instrumen- 
tality of  its  officers.  When,  for  instance,  the  governor  of 
this  stale  grants  a  pardon,  it  becomes  the  law  of  the  land, 
and  is  valid.  Every  thing  is  the  law  of  the  land,  let  it 
come  from  what  power  it  will,  provided  it  be  consistent  with 
the  Constitution. 

Mr.  LENOIR  answered,  that  that  comparison  did  not 

Mr.  IREDELL  continued.  If  the  governor  grants  a  par- 
don, it  becomes  a  law  of  the  land.  Why  ?  Because  he  has 
power  to  grant  pardons  by  the  Constitution.  Suppose  this 
Constitution  is  adopted,  and  a  treaty  made  ;  that  treaty  is 
the  law  of  the  land.  Why?  Because  the  Constitution  grants 
the  power  of  making  treaties. 

Several  members  expressed  dissatisfaction  at  the  inconsistency  (as  they 
conceived  it)  of  the  expressions,  when  — 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  observed,  that  their  obser- 
vations would  be  made  more  properly  when  they  come 
TO  that  clause  which  gave  the  casting  vote  to  the  Vice-Presi- 
dent, and  the  qualified  negative  to  the  Pn^sident. 

The  first  three  clauses  of  the  2d  section  read. 

Mr.  MACliAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  as  many  objections 
have  been  made  to  biennial  elections,  it  will  be  necessary  to 
obviate  them.  J  beg  leave  to  state  their  superiority  to  an- 
nual elections.  Our  elections  have  been  annual  for  some 
years.     People  are  apt  to  be  attached  to  old  customs.     An 

Maclainb.1  north   CAROUNA.  29 

Dual  elections  may  be  proper  in  our  state  governments,  but 
not  in  the  general  government.     The  seat  of  government  is 
at  a  considerable  distance;  and  in  case  of  a  disputed  election 
it  would  be  so  long  before  it  could  be  settled,  that  the  statt 
H^oiild  be  totally  without  representation.     There  is  another 
Reason,  still  more  cogent,  to  induce  us  to  prefer  biennial  to 
Annual  elections.     The  objects  of  stale  legislation  are  narrow 
dnd  confined,  and  a  short  time  will  render  a  man  sufficiently 
acquainted  with  them  ;  but  those  of  the  general  government 
are  infinitely  more  extensive,  and  require  a  much  longer  time 
to  comprehend  them.     The  representatives  to  the  general 
government  must  l>e  acquainted  not  only  with  the  internal 
situation  and  circumstances  of  the  United  States,  but  also 
with   the  state  of  our  commerce  with  foreign  nations,  and 
our  relative  situation  to  those  nations.     They  must  know 
the  relative  situation  of  those  nations  to  one  another,  and  bt 
able  to  judge  with  which  of  them,  and  in  what  manner,  our 
commerce  should  be  regulated.     These  are  good  reasons  to 
extend   the   time  of  elections  to  two  years.     I  believe  you 
remember,  —  and  perharps  every  member  here  remembers, — 
that  this  country  was  very  happy  under  biennial  elections. 
In  North  Carolina,  the  representatives  were  formerly  chosen 
by  bidlot  biennially.     It  was  changed  under  the  royal  gov- 
ernment, and  the  mode  pointed  out  by  the  king.     Notwith- 
standing the  contest  for  annual  elections,  perhaps  biennial 
elections  would  still  be  better  for  this  country.     Our  laws 
would  certainly  be  less  fluctuating. 

Mr.  SHEPPERD  observed,  that  he  could  see  no  pro- 
priety in  the  friends  of  the  new  system  making  objections, 
when  none  were  urged  by  its  opposers;  that  it  was  very 
uncommon  for  a  man  to  make  objections  and  answer  them 
himself;  and  that  it  would  take  an  immense  time  to  men- 
tion every  objection  which  had  been  mentioned  in  the 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  It  is  determined  already  by  the  Con- 
vention to  debate  the  Constitution  section  by  section.  Are 
we  then  to  read  it  only  ?  Suppose  the  whole  of  it  is  to  be 
passed  over  without  saying  any  thing;-  will  not  that  amount 
to  a  dead  vote  ?  Sir,  I  am  a  member  of  this  Convention  * 
and  if  objections  are  made  here,  I  will  answer  them  to  the 
l)est  of  my  ability.  If  I  see  gentlemen  pass  by  in  silence 
snch  parts  as  they  vehemently  decry  out  of  doors,  or  such 

511  DEBATES.  [Davie. 

part.s  as  have  l)een  loudly  complained  of  in  the  country,  1 
shall  answer  them  also. 

After  some  desultory  conversation,  Mr.  WILLIE  JONES 
observed,  that  he  would  easily  put  the  friends  of  the  Con- 
stitution in  a  way  of  discussing  it.  Let  one  of  them,  said 
he,  make  objections  and  another  answer  them. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  hope  that  reflections  ot 
a  personal  nature  will  be  avoided  as  much  as  possible.  What 
is  there  in  this  business  should  make  us  jealous  of  each 
other  .'^  We  are  all  come  hither  to  serve  one  common  cause 
of  one  country.  Let  us  go  about  it  openly  and  amicably. 
There  is  no  necessity  for  the  employment  of  underhanded 
means.  Let  every  objection  be  made.  Let  us  examine  the 
plan  of  government  submitted  to  us  thoroughly.  Let  us 
deal  with  each  other  with  candor.  I  am  sorry  to  see  so 
much  impatience  so  early  in  the  business. 

Mr.  SHEPPERD  answered,  that  he  spoke  only  because 
he  was  averse  to  unnecessary  delays,  and  that  he  had  no 
finesse  or  design  at  all. 

Mr.  RUTHERFORD  wished  the  system  to  be  thoroughly 
discussed.  He  hoped  that  he  should  be  excused  in  making 
a  few  observations,  in  the  Convention,  after  the  commit- 
tee rose,  and  that  he  trusted  gentlemen  would  make  no 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH  declared,  that  every  gentleman 
had  a  right  to  make  objections  in  both  cases,  and  that  he 
was  sorry  to  hear  reflections  made. 

Mr.  GOUDY.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  clause  of  taxation 
will  give  an  advantage  to  some  states  over  the  others.  It 
will  be  oppressive  to  the  Southern  States.  Taxes  are  equal 
to  our  representation.  To  augment  our  taxes,  and  increase 
our  burdens,  our  negroes  are  to  be  represented.  If  a  state 
has  fifty  thousand  negroes^  she  is  to  send  one  representative 
for  them.  I  wish  not  to  be  represented  with  negroes,  espe- 
cially if  it  increases  my  burdens. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  will  endeavor  to  obviate 
what  the  gentleman  last  up  said.  I  wonder  to  see  gentle- 
men so  precipitate  a'nd  hasty  on  a  subject  of  such  awful 
importance.  It  ought  to  be  considered,  that  some  of  us  are 
<low  of  apprehension,  or  not  having  those  quick  conceptions, 
and  luminous  understandings,  of  which  other  gentlemen  may 
ne  j)ossessed.     The  gentleman  "does  not  wish  to  be  repre 

Spaight.]  north   CAROLINA.  31 

sented  with  negroes."     This,  sir,  is  an  unhappy  species  of 
population;  but  we  cannot  at  present  alter  their  situation. 
The  Eastern  States  had  great  jealousies  on  this  subject. 
They  insisted  that  their  cows  and  horses  were  equally  en- 
titled to  representation ;  that  the  one  was  property  as  well 
as  the  other.     It  became  our  duty,  on  the  other  hand,  to 
acquire  as  much  weight  as  possible  in  the  legislation  of  the 
Union  ;  and,  as  the  Northern  States  were  more  populous  in 
wrhites,  this  only  could  be  done  by  insisting  that  a  certain 
proportion  of  our  slaves  should  make  a  part  of  the  computed 
population.     It  was  attempted  to  form  a  rule  of  representa- 
tion from  a  compound  ratio  of  wealth  and  population ;  but, 
on  consideration,  it  was  f^und  impracticable  to  determine 
the  comparative  value  of  lands,  and  other  property,  in  so  ex- 
tensive a  territory,  with  any  degree  of  accuracy ;  and  popu- 
lation alone  was  adopted  as  the  only  practicable  rule  or 
criterion  of  representation.     It  was  urged  by  the  deputies 
of  the  Eastern  States,   that  a  representation  of  two  fifths 
would  be  of  little  utility,  and  that  their  entire  representation 
would  be  unequal  and  burdensome — that,  in  a  time  of  war, 
slaves  rendered  a  country  more  vulnerable,  while  its  defence 
devolved  upon  its  free  inhabitants.     On  the  other  hand,  we 
insisted  that,  in  time  of  peace,  they  contributed,  by  their 
lalx)r,  to  the  general  wealth,  as  well  as  other  members  of  the 
community  —  that,  as  rational  beings,  they  had  a  right  of 
representation,  and,  in  some  instances,  might  be  highly  use- 
ful in  war.     On  these  principles  the  Eastern  States  gave  the 
matter  up,  and  consented  to  the  regulation  as  it  has  been 
read.     I  hope  these  reasons  will  appear  satisfactory.     It  is 
the  same  rule  or  principle  which  was  proposed  some  yeafs 
ago  by  Congress,  and  assented  to  by  twelve  of  the  states. 
It  may  wound  the  delicacy  of  the  gentleman  from  Guilford, 
(Mr.  Goudy,)  but  I  hope  he  will  endeavor  to  accommodate 
his  feelings  to  the  interest  and  circumstances  of  his  country. 
Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  said,  that  he  did  not  object 
to  the  representation  of  negroes,  so  much  as  he  did  to  the 
fewness  of  the  number  of  representatives.     He  was  surprised 
how  we  came  to  have  but  five,  including  those  intended  to 
represent    negroes.     That,   in    his   humble  opinion.  North 
Carolina  was  entitled  to  that  number  independent  of  the 
Mr.  SPAIGHT  endeavored  to  satisfy  him,  that  the  Con- 

SZ  DEBATES.  [Iredell. 

vention  had  no  rule  to  go  hy  in  this  case  —  that  they  could 
not  proceed  upon  the  ratio  mentioned  in  the  Constitution 
till  the  enumeration  of  the  people  was  made — that  some 
states  had  made  a  return  to  Congress  of  their  numbers,  and 
others  had  not  —  that  it  was  mentioned  that  we  had  had 
time,  but  made  no  return — that  the  present  number  was 
only  temporary  —  that  in  three  years  the  actual  census  would 
l>e  taken,  and  our  number  of  representatives  regulated  ac- 

His  excellency.  Gov.  JOHNSTON,  was  perfectly  satis- 
fied with  the  temporary  number.  He  said  that  it  could 
not  militate  against  the  people  of  North  Carolina,  because 
they  paid  in  proportion;  that  no  great  inconvenience  could 
happen,  in  three  years,  from  their  paying  less  than  their  full 
projX)rtion ;  that  they  were  not  very  flush  of  money,  and  that 
he  hoped  for  better  times  in  the  course  of  three  years. 

The  rest  of  the  2d  section  read. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  TAYLOR  objected  to  the  provision  made 
for  impeaching.  He  urged  that  there  could  be  no  security 
from  it,  as  the  persons  accused  were  triable  by  the  Senate, 
who  were  a  part  of  the  legislature  themselves ;  that,  while 
men  were  fallible,  the  senators  were  liable  to  errors,  especially 
in  a  case  where  they  were  concerned  themselves. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  was  going  to  observe 
that  this  clause,  vesting  the  power  of  impeachment  in  the 
House  of  Representatives,  is  one  of  the  greatest  securities 
for  a  due  execution  of  all  public  offices.  Every  government 
requires  it.  Every  man  ought  to  be  amenable  for  his  con- 
duct, and  there  are  no  persons  so  proper  to  complain  of  the 
public  officers  as  the  representatives  of  the  people  at  large. 
The  representatives  of  the  people  know  the  feelings  of  the 
people  at  large,  and  will  be  ready  enough  to  make  com- 
plaints. If  this  power  were  not  provided,  the  consequences 
might  be  fatal.  It  will  be  not  only  the  means  of  punishing 
misconduct,  but  it  will  prevent  misconduct.  A  man  in  pub- 
lic office  who  knows  that  there  is  no  tribunal  to  punish  him, 
may  be  ready  to  deviate  from  his  duty ;  but  if  he  knows 
there  is  a  tribunal  for  that  purpose,  although  he  may  be  a 
man  of  no  principle,  the  very  terror  of  punishment  will  per- 
haps deter  him.  I  beg  leave  to  mention  that  every  man  has 
a  right  to  express  his  opinion,  and  point  out  any  part  of  the 
Constitution  which  he  either  thinks  defective,  or  has  heard 

JoawsToif.l  NORTH  CAROLINA.  33 

represented  to  be  so.  What  will  be  the  consequence  if  they 
who  have  objections  do  not  think  proper  to  commuQicato 
ihem,  and  they  are  not  to  be  mentioned  by  others  ?  Many 
gentlemen  have  read  many  objections,  which  perhaps  have 
made  impressions  on  their  minds,  though  they  are  not  com- 
municated to  us.  I  therefore  apprehend  that  the  member 
was  perfectly  regular  in  mentioning  the  objections  made  out 
of  doors.  Such  objections  may  operate  upon  the  minds  of 
gentlemen,  who,  not  being  used  to  convey  their  ideas  in 
public,  conceal  them  out  of  diffidence. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH  wished  to  be  informed,  whether 
this  sole  power  of  impeachment,  given  to  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives, deprived  the  state  of  the  power  of  impeaching 
any  of  its  members. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  this  impeachment  ex- 
tended only  to  the  officers  of  the  United  States  —  that  it 
would  be  improper  if  the  same  body  that  impeached  had 
the  power  of  trying  —  that,  therefore,  the  Constitution  had 
wisely  given  the  power  of  impeachment  to  the  House  of 
Representatives,  and  that  of  try'mg  impeachments  to  the 

Mr.  JOSEPH  TAYLOR.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  objection 
is  very  strong.  If  there  be  but  one  body  to  try,  where  are 
we  ?  If  any  tyranny  or  oppression  should  arise,  how  are 
those  who  perpetrated  such  oppression  to  be  tried  and  pun- 
ished ?  By  a  tribunal  consisting  of  the  very  men  who  assist 
ia  such  tyranny.  Can  any  tribunal  be  found,  in  any  com- 
munity, who  will  give  judgment  against  their  own  actions? 
is  it  the  nature  of  man  to  decide  against  himself  ?  I  am 
obliged  to  the  worthy  member  from  New  Hanover  for  assist- 
mg  me  with  objections.  None  can  impeach  but  the  repre- 
sentatives ;  and  the  impeachments  are  to  be  determined  by 
the  senators,  who  are  one  of  the  branches  of  |K)wer  which 
We  dread  und(*r  this  Constitution. 

His  excellency.  Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  the 
worthy  member  from  Granville  surprises  me  by  his  objection. 
It  h:is  been  explained  by  another  member,  that  only  officers 
of  the  United  States  were  impeachable.  I  never  knew  any 
itistance  of  a  man  being  impeached  for  a  legislative  act ;  nay, 
1  never  heard  it  suggested  before.  No  member  of  the  House 
3f  Commons,  in  England,  has  ever  been  impeached  before 
the  Lords^  nor  any  lord,  for  a  legislative  mlsdemeaoor.     A 

VOL.  IV.  6 

S4  DEBATES.  [Maclaine 

representative  is  answerable  to  no  power  but  his  constituents. 
He  is  accountable  to  no  being  under  heaven  but  the  people 
who  appointed  him. 

.  Mr.  TAYLOR  replied,  that  it  now  appeared  to  him  in  a 
still  worse  light  than  before. 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH  observed,  that  as  this  was  a  Con- 
stitution for  the  United  States,  he  should  not  have  made  the 
observation  he  did,  had  the  subject  not  been  particularly 
mentioned  —  that  the  words  "sole  power  of  impeachment" 
were  so  general,  and  mie;ht  admit  of  such  a  latitude  of  con- 
struction, as  to  extend  to  every  legislative  member  upon  the 
continent,  so  as  to  preclude  the  representatives  of  the  dif- 
ferent states  from  impeaching. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  if  I  understand  the 
gentleman  rightly,  he  means  that  Congress  may  impeach  all 
the  people  or  officers  of  the  United  States.  If  the  gentle- 
man will  attend,  he  will  see  that  this  is  a  government  for 
confederated  states ;  that,  consequently,  it  can  never  inter- 
meddle where  no  power  is  given.  I  confess  I  can  see  no  more 
reason  to  fear  in  this  case  than  from  our  own  General  As- 
sembly. A  power  is  given  to  our  own  state  Senate  to  try 
impeachments.  Is  it  not  mjcessary  to  point  out  some  tribu- 
nal to  try  great  offences  ?  Should  there  not  be  some  mode 
of  punishment  for  the  offences  of  the  officers  of  the  general 
government  ?  Is  it  not  necessary  that  such  officers  should 
be  kept  within  proper  bounds?  The  officers  of  the  United 
States  are  excluded  from  offices  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit, 
under  the  United  States,  on  impeachment  for,  and  convic- 
tion of,  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors.  This  is  certainly 
necessary.  This  exclusion  from  offices  is  harmless  in  com- 
parison with  the  regulation  made,  in  similar  cases,  in  our  own 
government.  Here  it  is  expressly  provided  how  far  the 
punishment  shall  extend,  and  that  it  shall  extend  no  farther. 
On  the  contrary,  the  limits  are  not  marked  in  our  own  Con- 
stitution,  and  the  punishment  may  be  extended  too  far.  I 
believe  it  is  a  certain  and  known  fact,  that  members  of  the 
legislative  body  are  never,  as  such,  liable  to  impeachment, 
but  are  punishable  by  law  for  crimes  and  misdemeanors  in 
their  personal  capacity.  For  instance ;  the  members  of  As- 
sembly are  not  liable  to  impeachment,  but,  like  other  people, 
are  amenable  to  the  law  for  crimes  and  misdemeanors  com- 
nntted  as  individuals.  But  in  Congress,  a  member  of  either 
house  can  be  no  officer. 


Gov.  JOHNSTON,  Mr.  Chairman,  I  find  that  making 
objections  is  useful.  I  never  thought  of  the  objection  made 
bv  the  member  from  New  Hanover.  I  never  thought  that 
impeachments  extended  to  any  but  officers  of  the  United 
States.  When  you  look  at  the  judgment  to  be  given  on  im- 
peachments, you  will  see  that  the  punishment  goes  no  far- 
ther than  to  remove  and  disqualify  civil  officers  of  the  United 
States,  who  shall,  on  impeachment,  be  convicted  of  high 
misdemeanors.  Removal  from  office  is  the  punishment  — 
to  which  is  added  future  disqualification.  How  could  a  man 
be  removed  from  office  who  had  no  office  ?  An  officer  of 
this  state  is  not  liable  to  the  United  States.  Congress  could 
not  disqualify  an  officer  of  this  state.  No  body  can  dis- 
qualify, but  that  body  which  creates.  We  have  nothing  to 
apprehend  from  that  article.  We  are  perfectly  secure  as  to 
this  point.  I  should  laugh  at  any  judgment  they  should  give 
against  any  officer  of  our  own. 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH.  From  the  complexion  of  the 
paragraph  it  appeared  to  me  to  be  applicable  only  to  officers 
of  the  United  States;  but  the  gentleman's  own  reasoning 
convinces  me  that  he  is  wrong.  He  says  he  would  laugh  at 
them.  Will  the  gentleman  laugh  when  the  extension  of 
their  powers  takes  place  ?  It  is  only  by  our  adoption  they  can 
have  any  power. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  argument  of  the 
gentleman  last  up  is  founded  upon  misapprehension.  Every 
article  refers  to  its  particular  object.  We  must  judge  of  ex- 
pressions from  the  subject  matter  concerning  which  they  are 
used.  The  sole  power  of  impeachment  extends  only  to 
objects  of  the  Constitution.  The  Senate  shall  only  try  im- 
peachments arising  under  the  Constitution.  In  order  to 
confirm  and  illustrate  that  position,  the  gentleman  who  spoke 
before  explained  it  in  a  manner  perfectly  satisfactory  to  my 
apprehension  —  "under  this  Constitution."  What  is^he 
meaninjr  of  these  words?  They  signify  those  arising  under 
the  government  of  the  United  States.  When  this  govern- 
ment is  adopted,  there  will  be  two  governments  to  which  we 
shall  owe  obedience.  To  the  government  of  the  Union,  in 
cprt:iin  defined  cases — to  our  own  state  government  in  every 
other  case.  If  the  general  government  were  to  disqualify 
nie  from  any  office  which  I  held  in  North  Carolina  under  its 
'aws,  [  wc  aid  refer  to  the  Constitution,  and  say  that  they 

36  DEBATES.  '  [SpAiiiHT 

violated  it,  as  it  only  extended  to  officers  of  the  United 

Mr,  JJLOODWORTH.  The  penalty  is  only  removal 
from  office.  It  does  not  mention  from  what  office.  1  do 
not  see  any  thing  in  the  expression  that  convinces  me  tha^ 
1  was  mistaken.     I  still  consider  it  in  the  same  light. 

Mr.  PORTER  wished  to  be  informed,  if  every  officer, 
who  was  a  creature  of  that  Constitution,  was  to  be  tried  by 
the  Senate  —  whether  such  officers,  and  those  who  had  com- 
plaints against  them,  were  to  go  from  the  extreme  parts 
of  the  continent  to  the  seat  of  government,  to  adjust  dis- 

Mr.  DAVIE  answered,  that  impeachments  were  confmed 
to  cases  under  the  Constitution,  but  did  not  descend  to  petty 
offices  ;  that  if  the  gentleman  meant  that  it  would  be  trouble- 
some and  inconvenient  to  recur  to  the  federal  courts  in  case 
of  oppressions  by  officers,  and  to  carry  witnesses  such  great 
distances,  he  would  satisfy  the  gentleman,  that  Congress 
would  remove  such  inconveniences,  as  they  had  the  power 
of  appointing  inferior  tribunals,  where  such  disputes  would 
be  tried. 

Mr.  J.  TAYLOR.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  conceive  that,  if 
this  Constitution  be  adopted,  we  shall  have  a  large  number 
of  officers  in  North  Carolina  under  the  appointment  of  Con- 
gress. We  shall  undoubtedly,  for  instance,  have  a  great 
number  of  tax-gatherers.  If  any  of  these, officers  shall  do 
wrong,  when  we  come  to  fundamental  principles,  we  find 
that  we  have  no  way  to  punish  them  but  by  going  to  Con- 
gress, at  an  immense  distance,  whither  we  must  carry  our 
witnesses.  Every  gentleman  must  see,  in  these  cases,  that 
oppressions  will  arise.  I  conceive  that  they  cannot  be  tried 
elsewhere.  I  consider  that  the  Constitution  will  be  ex- 
plained by  the  word  "  sole."  If  they  did  not  mean  to  retain 
a  general  power  of  impeaching,  there  was  no  occasion  for 
saying  the  "  sole  power."  I  consider  therefore  that  oppres- 
sions will  arise.  If  I  am  oppressed,  I  must  go  to  the  House 
of  Representatives  to  complain.  I  consider  that,  when  man- 
kind are  about  to  part  with  rights,  they  ought  only  to  part 
with  those  rights  which  they  can  with  convenience  relin- 
quish, and  not  such  as  must  involve  them  in  distresses. 

In  answer  to  Mr.  Taylor,  Mr.  SPAIGHT  observed  that, 
though  the  power  of  impeachment  was  given,  yet  it  did  noi 


say  that  there  was  no  other  manner  of  giving  redress —  thai 
it  was  very  certain  and  clear  that,  if  any  man  was  injured 
by  an  officer  of  the  United  States,  he  could  get  redress  by  a 
suit  at  law. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  confess  I  never  heard 
before  that  a  tax-gatherer  was  worthy  of  impeachment.  It 
is  one  of  the  meanest  and  least  offices.  Impeachments  are 
only  for  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors.  If  any  one  is  in- 
jured in  his  person  or  property,  he  can  get  redress  by 
a  suit  at  law.  Why  does  the  gentleman  talk  in  this  man- 
ner ?  It  shows  what  wretched  shifts  gentlemen  are  driven 
to.  I  never  heard,  in  my  life,  of  such  a  silly  objection. 
A  poor,  insignificant,  petty  officer  amenable  to  impeach- 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  objection  would  be 
right  if  there  was  no  other  mode  of  punishing.  But  it  is 
evident  that  an  officer  may  be  tried  by  a  court  of  common 
law.  He  may  be  tried  in  such  a  court  for  common-law 
offences,  whether  impeached  or  not.  As  it  is  to  be  presumed 
that  inferior  tribunals  will  be  constituted,  there  will  be  no 
occasion  for  going  always  to  the  Supreme  Court,  even  in 
cases  where  the  federal  courts  have  exclusive  jurisdiction. 
Where  this  exclusive  cognizance  is  not  given  them,  redress 
mav  be  had  in  the  common-law  courts  in  the  state :  and  I 
have  no  doubt  such  regulations  will  be  made  as  will  put  it 
out  of  the  power  of  officers  to  distress  the  people  with 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  observed,  that  men  who  were  in  very 
high  offices  could  not  be  come  at  by  the  ordinary  course  of 
justice ;  but  when  called  before  this  high  tribunal  and  con- 
victed, they  would  be  stripped  of  their  dignity,  and  reduced 
to  the  rank  of  iheir  fellow-citizens,  and  then  the  courts  of 
common  law  might  proceed  against  them. 

Friday,  Jiu/y  25,  UW 

The  Convention  met  according  to  adjournment. 

Mr.  BATTLE  in  the  chair.  1st  article  of  the  3d  sec- 
tion read. 

Mr.  CABARRUS  wished  to  be  informed  of  the  reason 
why  the  senators  were  to  be  elected  for  so  long  a  time. 

Mr.  IREDELL.    Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  waited  for  some 

time  in  hopes  that  a  gentleman  better  qualified  than  myself 


i5i  DEBATES.  [Iredell 

would  explain  this  part.  Every  objection  to  every  part 
of  this  Constitution  ought  to  be  answered  as  fully  as  pos- 

I  believe,  sir,  it  was  the  general  sense  of  all  America, 
with  the  exception  only  of  one  state,  in  forming  their  own 
state  constitutions,  that  the  legislative  body  should  he  divid- 
ed into  two  branches,  in  order  that  the  people  might  have 
a  double  security.  It  will  often  happen  that,  in  a  single 
body,  a  bare  majority  will  carry  exceptionable  and  pernicious 
measures.  The  violent  faction  of  a  party  may  often  form 
such  a  majority  in  a  single  body,  and  by  that  means  the 
particular  views  or  interests  of  a  part  of  the  community  may 
be  consulted,  and  those  of  the  rest  neglected  or  injured.  Is 
there  a  single  gentleman  in  this  Convention,  who  has  been 
a  member  of  the  legislature,  who  has  not  found  the  minority 
in  the  most  important  questions  to  be  often  right  ?  Is  there 
a  man  here,  who  has  been  in  either  house,  who  has  not  at 
some  times  found  the  most  solid  advantages  from  the  coop- 
eration or  opposition  of  the  other  ?  If  a  ineasure  be  right, 
which  has  been  approved  of  by  one  branch,  the  other  will 
probably  confirm  it ;  if  it  be  wrong,  it  is  fortunate  that  there 
is  another  branch  to  oppose  or  amend  it.  These  principles 
probably  formed  one  reason  for  the  institution  of  a  Senate, 
in  the  form  of  government  before  us.  Another  arose  from 
the  peculiar  nature  of  that  government,  as  connected  with 
the  government  of  the  particular  states. 

The  general  government  will  have  the  protection  and 
management  of  the  general  interests  of  the  United  States. 
The  local  and  particular  interests  of  the  different  states  are 
left  to  their  respective  legislatures.  All  affairs  which  con- 
cerA  this  state  only  an?  to  be  determined  by  our  represent- 
atives coming  from  all  parts  of  the  state  ;  all  affairs  which 
concern  the  Union  at  large  are  to  be  determined  by  repre- 
sentatives coming  from  all  parts  of  the  Union.  Thus,  then, 
the  general  government  is  to  be  taken  care  of,  and  the  state 
governments  to  be  preserved.  The  former  is  done  by  a  nu- 
merous representation  of  the  people  of  each  state,  in  propor- 
tion to  its  importance%  The  latter  is  effected  by  giving  each 
state  an  equal  representation  in  the  Senate.  The  people 
will  be  represented  in  one  house,  the  state  legislatures  in  the 

Many  are  of  the  opinion  that  the  power  of  the  Senate  is 

Iredell.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  3^ 

too  great ;  but  I  cannot  think  so,  considering  the  great  weight 
which  the  House  of  Representatives  will  have.  Several  rea- 
sons may  be  assigned  for  this.  The  House  of  Representatives 
will  be  more  numerous  than  the  Senate.  They  will  represent 
the  immediate  interests  of  the  people.  They  will  originate 
all  money  bills,  which  is  one  of  the  greatest  securities  in  any 
republican  government.  The  respectability  of  their  constitu- 
ents, who  are  the  free  citizens  of  America,  will  add  great 
weight  to  the  representatives  ;  for  a  power  derived  from  the 
people  is  the  source  of  all  real  honor,  and  a  demonstration 
of  confidence  which  a  man  of  any  feeling  would  be  more 
ambitious  to  possess,  than  any  other  honor  or  any  emolument 
whatever.  There  is,  therefore,  always  a  danger  of  such  a 
house  becoming  too  powerful,  and  it  is  necessary  to  counter- 
act its  influence  by  giving  great  weight  and  authority  to  the 
other.  I  am  warranted  by  well-known  facts  in  my  opinion 
that  the  representatives  of  the  people  at  large  will  have  more 
weight  than  we  should  be  induced  to  believe  from  a  slight 

The  British  government  furnishes  a  very  remarkable  in- 
stance to  my  present  purpose.     In  that  country,  sir,  is  a 
king,  who  is  hereditary  —  a  man,  who  is  not  chosen  for  his 
abilities,  but  who,  though   he  may  be  without   principles  or 
abilities,  is  by  birth  their  sovereign,  and  may  impart  the  vices 
of  his   character  to  the  government.      His  influence  and 
)ower  are  so  great,  that  the  people  would  bear  a  great  deal 
)efore  they  would   attempt  to  resist  his  authority.     He  is 
one  coniplete  branch  of  the  legislature  —  may  make  as  many 
peers  as  he  pleases,  who  are  immediately  members  of  another 
branch ;  he  has  the  disposal  of  almost  all  offices  in  the  king- 
dom, commands  the  army  and  navy,  is  head  of  the  church, 
and  has  the  means  of  corrupting  a  large  proportion  of  the 
representatives  of  the  people,  who  form  the  third  branch  of 
the   legislature.      The    House  of  Peers,  which    forms  the 
second  branch,  is  composed  of  members  who  are  hereditary, 
and,  except  as  to  money  bills,  (which  they  are  not  allowed 
either  to  originate  or  alter,)  hath  equal  authority  with  the 
other  house.     The  members  of  the  House  of  Commons,  who 
are  considered  to  represent  the  people,  are  elected  for  seven 
years,  and  they  are  chosen  by  a  small  proportion  of  the  peo- 
ple, and,  I  believe  I  may  say,  a  large  majority  of  them  by 
actual  corruption.     Under  these  circumstances,  one  would 

40  DEBATES.  [Ikedgll 

suppose  their  influence,  compared  to  that  of  the  king  and  the 
lords,  was  very  inconsiderable.  But  the  fact  is,  that  they  have, 
by  degrees,  increased  their  power  to  an  astonishing  degree, 
and,  when  they  think  proper  to  exert  it,  can  command 
almost  any  thing  they  please.  This  great  power  they  enjoy, 
by  having  the  name  of  representatives  of  the  people,  and  the 
exclusive  right  of  originating  money  bills.  What  authority, 
then,  will  our  representatives  not  |)ossess,  who  will  really 
represent  the  people,  and  equally  have  the  right  of  originat- 
ing money  bills  ? 

The  manner  in  which  our  Senate  is  to  be  chosen  gives  us  an 
additional  security.  Our  senators  will  not  be  chosen  by  a 
king,  nor  tainted  by  his  influence.  They  are  to  be  chosen 
by  different  legislatures  in  the  Union.  Each  is  to  choose 
two.  It  is  to  be  supposed  that,  in  the  exercise  of  this  power, 
the  utmost  prudence  and  circumspection  will  be  observed. 
We  may  presume  that  they  will  select  two  of  the  most 
respectable  men  in  the  state,  two  men  who  had  given  the 
strongest  proofs  of  attachment  to  the  interests  of  their  country. 
The  senators  are  not  to  hold  estates  for  life  in  the  legisla- 
ture, nor  to  transmit  them  to  their  children.  Their  families, 
friends,  and  estates,  will  be  pledges  for  their  fidelity  to  their 
country.  Holding  no  office  under  the  United  States,  they 
will  be  under  no  temptation  of  that  kind  to  forget  the 
interest  of  their  constituents.  There  is  every  probability 
that  men  elected  in  this  manner  will,  in  general,  do  their 
duty  faithfully.  It  may  be  expected,  therefore,  that  they 
will  cooperate  in  every  laudable  act,  but  strenuously  resist 
those  of  a  contrary  nature.  To  do  this  to  effect,  their  sta- 
tion must  have  some  permanency  annexed  to  it. 

As  the  representatives  of  the  people  may  probably  be  more 
popular,  and  it  may  l)e  sometimes  necessary  for  the  Senate 
to  prevent  factious  measures  taking  place,  which  may  be 
highly  injurious  to  the  real  interests  of  the  public,  the  Senate 
should  not  be  at  the  mercy  of  every  popular  clamor.  Men 
engaged  in  arduous  affairs  are  often  obliged  to  do  things 
which  may,  for  the  present,  be  disapproved  of,  for  want  of 
.  full  information  of  the  case,  which  it  is  not  in  every  man's 
\  power  immediately  to  obtain.  In  the  mean  time,  every  one 
is  eager  to  judge,  and  many  to  condemn ;  and  thus  many 
an  action  is  for  a  time  unpopular,  the  true  policy  and  justice 
of  which  afterwards  very  plainly  appear.     These  observa- 

Ibedell-I  north  CAROLINA.  41 

fions  apply  even  to  acts  of  legislation  concerning  domestic 
policy :  they  apply  much  more  forcibly  to  the  case  of  foreign 
negotiations,  which  will  form  one  part  oi  the  business  of  the 
Senate.  I  hope  we  shall  not  be  involved  in  the  labyrinths 
of  foreign  politics.  But  it  is  necessary  for  us  to  watch  th^ 
conduct  of  European  powers,  that  we  may  be  on  our  defence 
and  ready  in  case  of  an  attack.  All  these  things  will  re- 
quire a  continued  attention  ;  and,  in  order  to  know  whether 
they  were  transacted  rightly  or  not,  it  must  take  up  a  con- 
siderable time. 

A  certain  permanency  in  office  is,  in  my  opinion,  useful 
for  another  reason.  Nothing  is  more  unfortunate  for  a  na- 
tion than  to  have  its  affairs  conducted  in  an  irregular  man- 
ner. Consistency  and  stability  are  necessary  to  render  the 
laws  of  any  society  convenient  for  the  people.  If  they  were 
to  be  entirely  conducted  by  men  liable  to  be  called  away 
soon,  we  might  be  deprived,  in  a  great  measure,  of  their 
utility ;  their  measures  might  be  abandoned  before  they  were 
fully  executed,  and  others,  of  a  less  beneficial  tendency,  sub- 
stituted in  their  stead.  The  public  also  would  be  deprived 
of  that  experience  which  adds  so  much  weight  to  the  great- 
est abilities. 

The  business  of  a  senator  will  require  a  great  deal  of 
knowledge,  and  more  extensive  information  than  can  be 
acquired  in  a  short  time.  This  can  be  made  evident  by 
facts  well  known.  I  doubt  not  the  gentlemen  of  this  house, 
who  have  been  members  of  Congress,  will  acknowledge  that 
they  have  known  several  instances  of  men  who  were  mem- 
bers of  Congress,  and  were  there  many  months  before  they 
knew  how  to  act,  for  want  of  information  of  the  real  state 
of  the  Union.  The  acquisition  of  full  information  of  this 
kind  must  employ  a  great  deal  of  time;  since  a  general 
knowledge  of  the  affairs  of  all  the  states,  and  of  the  relative 
situation  of  foreign  nations,  would  be  indispensable.  Re 
sponsibility,  also,  would  be  lessened  by  a  short  duration  ;  for 
many  useful  measures  require  a  good  deal  of  time,  and  con- 
tinued operations,  and  no  man  should  be  answerable  for  the 
ill  success  of  a  scheme  which  was  taken  out  of  his  hands  by 

For  these  reasons,  I  hope  it  will  appear  that  six  years  are 
not  too  long  a  duration  for  the  Senate.  I  hope,  also,  it  will 
he  thought  that,  so  far  from  being  injurious  to  the  liberties 

VOL.  IV.  6 

4J;  DEBATES.  [Datib 

and  interest  of  the  public,  it  will  form  a  i  additional  securit}' 
to  K)ih,  especially  when  the  next  clause  is  taken  up,  hy 
which  we  shall  see  that  one  third  of  the  Senate  is  to  go  out 
every  second  year,  and  two  thirds  must  concur  in  the  most 
important  cases ;  so  that,  if  there  be  only  one  honest  man 
among  the  two  thirds  that  remain,  added  to  the  one  third 
which  has  recently  come  in,  this  will  be  sufficient  to  prevent 
the  rights  of  the  })eople  being  sacrificed  to  any  unjust  ambi- 
tion of  that  body. 

I  was  in  hopes  some  other  gentleman  would  have  ex- 
plained this  paragraph,  because  it  introduces  an  entire  change 
m  our  system ;  and  every  change  ought  to  be  founded  on  good 
reasons,  and  those  reasons  made  plain  to  the  people.  Had 
my  abilities  been  greater,  I  should  have  answered  the  oljjec- 
tion  better.  I  have,  however,  done  it  in  the  best  manner  in 
my  power,  and  I  hope  the  reasons  I  have  assigned  will  be 
satisfactorv  to  the  committee. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  a  gentleman  yester- 
day made  some  objections  to  the  power  of  the  Vice-Presi- 
dent, and  insisted  that  he  was  possessed  of  le«iislative  powers; 
that,  in  case  of  equality  of  voice  in  the  Senate,  he  had  the 
deciding  vote,  and  that  of  course  he,  and  not  the  Senate 
legislated.  I  confess  I  was  struck  with  astonishment  at  such 
an  objection,  especially  as  it  came  from  a  gentleman  of 
character.  As  far  as  my  understanding  goes,  the  Vice-Presi- 
dent is  to  have  no  acting  part  in  the  Senate,  but  a  mere 
casting  vote.  In  every  other  instance,  he  is  merely  to  pre- 
side in  the  Senate  in  order  to  regulate  their  deliberations. 
I  think  there  is  no  danger  to  be  apprehended  from  him  in 
particular,  as  he  is  to  be  chosen  in  the  same  manner  with 
the  President,  and  therefore  may  be  presumed  to  possess  a 
great  share  of  the  confidence  of  all  the  states.  He  has  been 
called  a  useless  officer.  I  think  him  very  useful,  and  I  think 
the  objection  very  triffing.  It  shows  the  uniform  opposi- 
tion gentlemen  are  determined  to  make.  It  is  very  easy  to 
cavil  at  the  finest  government  that  ever  existed. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  will  state  to  the  commit- 
tee the  reasons  upon  which  this  officer  was  introduced.  I 
had  the  honor  to  observe  to  the  committee,  before,  the  causes 
of  the  particular  formation  of  the  Senate  — that  it  was  owing, 
with  other  reasons,  to  the  jealousy  of  the  states,  and,  par- 
ncularly,  to  the  extreme  jealousy  of  the  lesser  states  of  the 



Maclainb.]  north  CAROLINA.  45 

jKiWer    and  influence  of  the  larger  members   of   the  con- 
federacy.    It  was  in   the  Senate  that  the  several   political 
interests  of  the  states  were  to  be  preserved,  and  where  all 
their    powers   were    to    be  perfectly  balanced.     The  com- 
mercial jealousy  between  the  Eastern  and   Southern  States 
had  a  principal  share  in  this  business.     It  might  happen,  ir. 
important  cases,  that  the  voices  would  be  equally  divided 
Indecision  might  be  dangerous  and  inconvenient  to  the  pub- 
lic.    It  would  then  be  necessary  to  have  some  person  who 
should    determine   the  question  as   impartially  as  possible. 
Had  the  Vice-President  been  taken  from  the  representation 
of  any  of  the  states,  the  vote  of  that  state  would  have  been 
under  local  influence  in  the  second.     It  is  true  he  must  be  ^ 
chosen  from  some  state ;  but,  from  the  nature  of  his  election 
and  oflice,  he  represents  no  one  state  in   particular,  but  all 
the  states.     It  is  impossible  that  any  officer  could  be  chosen  ^' 
more  impartially.     He  is,  in  consequence  of  his  election,  the 
creature  of  no  particular  district  or  state,  but  the  offic(!r  and 
representative  of  the  Union.     He  must    possess   the  con- 
fidence of  the  states  in  a  very  great  degree,  and  consequent-   ^ 
ly  be  the  most  proper  person  to  decide  in  cases  of  this  kind. 
These,  I  believe,  are  the  principles  upon  which  the  Conven- 
tion formed  this  officer. 
6th  clause  of  the  3d  section  read. 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY  wished  gentlemen  to  ofler 
their  objections.  That  they  must  have  made  objections  to 
it,  and  that  they  ought  to  mention  them  here. 

Mr.  JOHN  BLOUNT  said,  that  the  sole  power  of  im- 
peachment had  been  objected  to  yesterday,  and  that  it  was 
urged,  officers  were  to  be  carried  from  the  farthest  parts  of 
the  states  to  the  seat  of  government.  He  wished  to  know  if 
gentlemen  were  satisfied. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr  Chairman,  I  have  no  inclination 
to  get  up  a  second  time,  h\  t  some  gentlemen  think  this  sub- 
ject ought  to  be  taken  notice  of.  I  recollect  it  was  men- 
tioned by  one  gentleman,  that  petty  officers  might  be  im- 
peached. It  appears  to  me,  sir,  to  be  the  most  horrid 
ignorance  to  suppose  that  every  officer,  however  trifling  his 
office,  is  to  be  impeached  for  every  petty  offence ;  and  that 
every  man,  who  should  be  injured  by  such  petty  officers, 
could  get  no  redress  but  by  this  mode  of  impeachment,  at 
the  seat  of  government,  at  the  distance  of  several  hundred 

44  DEBATES.  [Maclaine. 

miles,  whither  he  would  lie  obliged  to  summon  a  great  num- 
l)er  of  witnesses.  I  hope  every  gentleman  in  this  commit- 
tee must  see  plainly  that  imjieachments  cannot  extend  to 
inferior  officers  of  the  United  States.  Such  a  construction 
cannot  be  supported  without  a  departure  from  the  usual  and 
well-known  practice  both  in  England  and  America.  But 
this  clause  empowers  the  House  of  Representatives,  which  is 
the  grand  inquest  of  the  Union  at  large,  to  bring  great 
offenders  to  justice.  It  will  lie  a  kind  of  state  trial  for  high 
crimes  and  misdemeanors.  I  rememl)er  it  was  objected 
yesterday,  that  the  House  of  Representatives  had  the  sole 
power  of  impeachment.  The  word  "  sole  "  was  supposed 
to  be  so  extensive  as  to  include  impeachable  offences  against 
particular  states.  Now,  for  my  part,  I  can  see  no  impro- 
priety in  the  expression.  The  Word  relates  to  the  general 
objects  of  the  Union.  It  can  only  refer  to  offences  against 
the  United  States ;  nor  can  it  be  tortured  so  as  to  have  any 
other  meaning,  without  a  perversion  of  the  usual  meaning 
of  language.  The  House  of  Representatives  is  to  have  the 
sole  power  of  impeachment,  and  the  Senate  the  sole  power 
of  trying.  And  here  is  a  valuable  provision,  not  to  be  found 
in  other  governments. 

In  England,  the  Lords,  who  try  impeachments,  declare 
solemnly,  upon  honor,  whether  the  persons  impeached  be 
guilty  or  not.  But  here  the  senators  are  on  oath.  This  is 
a  very  happy  security.  It  is  further  provided,  that,  when 
the  President  is  tried,  (for  he  is  also  liable  to  be  impeached,) 
the  chief  justice  shall  preside  in  the  Senate ;  because  it 
might  be  supposed  that  the  Vice-President  might  be  con- 
nected, together  with  the  President,  in  the  same  crime,  and 
would  therefore  be  an  improper  person  to  judge  him.  It 
would  be  improper  for  another  reason.  On  the  removal  ol 
the  President  from  office,  it  devolves  on  the  Vice-President. 
This  being  the  case,  if  the  Vice-President  should  be  judge, 
might  he  not  look  at  the  office  of  President,  and  endeavor  to 
influence  the  Senate  against  him  ?  This  is  a  most  excellent 
caution.  It  has  been  objected  by  some,  that  the  President 
is  in  no  danger  from  a  trial  by  the  Senate,  because  he  does 
nothing  without  its  concurrence.  It  is  true,  he  is  expressly 
restricted  not  to  make  treaties  without  the  concurrence  of 
two  thirds  of  the  senators  present,  nor  ap[x)int  officers  with- 
out the  concurrence  of  the  Senate,  (not  requiring  two  ^irds.'i 

Taflor.]  north  CAROLLNA.  46 

The    concurrence  of  all  the  senators,  however,  is  not  re- 
quired in  either  of  those  cases.     They  may  be  all   present 
when  he  is  impeached,  and  other  senators  in  the  mean  timt- 
introduced      The  chief  justice,  we  ought  to  presume,  would 
not   countenance  a  collusion.     One  dissenting  person  might 
divulge  their  misbehavior.     Besides,  he  is  impeachable  for 
his  own  misdemeanors,  and  as  to  their  concurrence  with  him, 
it   niight  be  effected  by  misrepresentations  of  his  own,  in 
which  case  they  would  be  innocent,  though  he  be  guilty.     I 
think,  therefore,  the  Senate  a  very  proper  body  to  try  him. 
Notwithstanding  the  mode  pointed  out  for  impeaching  and 
trying,  there  is  not  a  single  officer  but  may  be  tried  and 
indicted  at  common  law ;  for  it  is  provided,  that  a  judgment, 
in  cases  of  impeachment,  shall  not  extend  farther  than  to 
removal  from  office,  and  disqualification  to  hold   and  enjoy 
any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit,  under  the  United  States; 
but  the  party  convicted   shall,   nevertheless,  be  liable  and 
subject  to  indictment,  trial,  judgment,  and  punishment,  ac* 
cording  to  law.     Thus  you  find  that  no  offender  can  escape 
the  danger  of  punishment.     Officers,   however,  cannot  be 
oppressed  by  an  unjust  decision  of  a  bare  majority ;  for  it 
further  provides,  that  no  person  shall  be  convicted  without 
the  concurrence  of  two  thirds  of  the  members  present;  so 
that  those  gentlemen  who  formed  this  government  have  been 
particularly  careful  to  distribute  every  part  of  it  as  equally 
as  possible.     As  the  government  is  solely  instituted  for  the 
United  States,  so  the  power  of  impeachment  only  extends 
to  officers  of  the  United  States.     The  gentleman  who  is  so 
much  afraid  of  impeachment  by  the  federal  legislature,  is 
totally  mistaken  in  his  principles. 

Mr.  J.  TAYLOR.  Mr.  Chairman,  my  apprehension  is, 
that  this  clause  is  connected  with  the  other,  which  gives  the 
sole  power  of  impeachment,  and  is  very  dangerous.  When 
I  was  ofTering  an  objection  to  this  part,  I  observed  that  it 
was  supposed  by  some,  that  no  impeachments  could  l)e  pre- 
ferred but  by  the  House  of  Representatives.  I  concluded 
that  perhaps  the  collectors  of  the  United  States,  or  gatherers 
of  taxes,  might  impose  on  individuals  in  this  country,  and 
that  these  individuals  might  think  it  too  great  a  distance  to 
go  to  the  of  federal  government  to  get  redress,  and  would 
therefore  be  injured  with  impunity.  I  observed  that  there 
were  some  gentlemen,  whose  abilities  are  great,  who  con- 

46  DEBATES.  [Maclaink. 

strue  it  in  a  difierent  manner.  They  ought  to  be  kind 
enough  lo  carry  their  construction  not  to  the  mere  letter,  hut 
to  the  meaning.  I  observe,  that,  when  these  great  men  are 
met  in  Congress,  in  consequence  of  this  power,  they  will 
have  the  power  of  appointing  all  the  officers  of  the  United 
States.  My  experience  in  life  shows  me  that  the  friends  of 
the  members  of  the  legislature  will  get  the  offices.  These 
senators  and  members  of  the  House  of  Representatives  will 
appoint  their  friends  to  all  offices.  These  officers  will  be 
great  men,  and  they  will  have  numerous  deputies  under 
them.  The  receiver-general  of  the  taxes  of  North  Carolina 
must  be  one  of  the  greatest  men  in  the  country.  Will  he 
come  to  me  for  his  taxes  ?  No.  He  will  send  his  deputy, 
who  will  have  special  instructions  to  oppress  me.  How  am 
I  to  be  redressed  ?  I  shall  be  told  that  I  must  go  to  Con- 
gress, to  get  him  impeached.  This  being  the  case,  whom 
am  I  to  impeach  ?  A  friend  of  the  representatives  of  North 
Carolina.  For,  unhappily  for  us,  these  men  will  have  too 
much  weight  for  us ;  they  will  have  friends  in  the  govern- 
ment who  will  be  inclined  against  us,  and  thus  we  may  be 
oppressed  with  impunity. 

I  was  sorry  yesterday  to  hear  personal  observations  drop 
from  a  gentleman  in  this  house.  If  we  are  not  of  equal 
ability  with  the  gentleman,  he  ought  to  possess  charity  to- 
wards us,  and  not  lavish  such  severe  reflections  upon  us  in 
such  a  declamatory  manner. 

These  are  considerations  I  offer  to  the  house.  These  op- 
pressions may  be  committed  by  these  officers.  I  can  see  no 
mode  of  redress.  If  there  be  any,  let  it  be  pointed  out. 
As  to  personal  aspersions,  with  respect  to  me,  I  despise  them. 
Let  him  convince  me  by  reasoning,  but  not  fall  on  detraction 
or  declamation. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  if  I  made  use  of  any 
asperity  to  that  gentleman  yesterday,  I  confess  I  am  sorry  for 
it.  It  was  because  such  an  observation  came  from  a  gentle- 
man of  his  profession.  Had  it  come  from  any  other  gentle- 
man in  this  Convention,  who  is  not  of  his  profession,  I 
should  not  be  surprised.  But  I  was  surprised  that  it  should 
come  from  a  gentleman  of  the  law,  who  must  know  the  con- 
trary perfectly  well.  If  his  memory  had  failed  him,  he  mij^ht 
have  known  by  consulting  his  library.  His  l)ooks  would 
have  told  him  that  no  petty  officer  was  ever  impeachable 

Maclainb.]  north   CAROLINA.  47 

tVhen  such  trivial,  ill-founded  objections  were  advanced,  by 
persons  who  ought  to  know  better,  was  it  not  sufficient  to  ir- 
ritate those  who  were  determined  to  decide  the  question  by 
a  regular  and  candid  discussion  ? 

Wliether  or  not  there  will  be  a  receiver-general  in  North 
Carolina,  if  we  adopt  the  Constitution,  I  cannot  take  upon 
uiyself  to  say.     I  cannot  say  how  Congress  will  collect  their 
money.     It  will  depend  upon  laws  hereafter  to  be  made. 
These  laws  will  extend  to  other  states  as  well  as   to  us. 
Should   there  be  a  receiver-general   in   North  Carolina,  he 
certainly  will  not  be  authorized  to  oppress  the  people.     His 
deputies  can  have  no  power  that  he  could  not  have  himself. 
As  all  collectors  and  other  officers  will  he  bound  to  act  ac- 
bording  to  law,  and  will,  in  all  probability,  be  obliged  to  give 
security  for  iheir  conduct,  we  may  expect  they  will  not  dare 
to  oppress.     The  gentleman    has  thought  proper  to  lay  it 
down  as  a  principle,  that  these  receivers-general   will  give 
special  orders  to  their  deputies  to  oppress  the  people.     The 
President  is  the  superior  officer,  who  is  to  see  the  laws  put 
in  execution.     He  is  amenable  for  any  maladministration  in 
his  office.     Were  it  possible  to  suppose  that  the  President 
should  give  wrong  instructions  to  his  deputies,  whereby  the 
citizens  would  be  distressed,  they  would  have  redress  in  the 
ordinary  courts  of  common  law.     But,  says  he,  parties  in- 
jured must  go  to  the  seat  of  government  of  the  United  States, 
and  get  redress  there.     I  do  not  think  it  will  be  necessary 
to  go  to  the  seat  of  the  general  government  for  that  purpose. 
No  persons  will  be  obliged  to  attend  there,  but  on  extraordi- 
nary occasions;  for  Congress  will  form  regulations  so  as  to 
render  it  unnecessary  for  the  inhabitants  to  go  thither,  but 
on  such  occasions. 

My  reasons  for  this  conclusion  are  these  :  I  look  upon  it 
as  the  interest  of  all  the  people  of  America,  except  those  in 
the  vicinity  of  the  seat  of  government,  to  make  laws  as  easy 
as  [X)ssible  for  the  people,  with  respect  to  local  attendance. 
Tlioy  will  not  agree  to  drag  their  citizens  unnecessarily  six 
or  seven  hundred  miles  from  their  homes.  This  would  be 
equally  inconvenient  to  all  except  those  in  the  vicinity  ol* 
the  seat  of  government,  and  therefore  will  be  prevented 
But,  says  the  gentleman  from  Granville,  what  redress  have 
we  when  we  <jo  to  that  place  ?  These  great  officers  will  be 
the  friends  of  the  representatives  of  North  Carolina.     It  is 

i8  DEBATES.  [Maclains. 

possible  they  may,  or  they  may  not.  They  have  the  power 
to  appoint  officers  for  each  state  from  what  place  they  please. 
It  is  probable  they  will  appoint  them  out  of  the  state  in 
which  they  are  to  act.  I  will,  however,  admit,  for  the  sake 
of  argument,  that  those  federal  officers  who  will  be  guilty 
of  misdemeanors  in  this  state  will  be  near  relations  of  the 
representatives  and  senators  of  North  Carolina.  What  then  ? 
Are  they  to  be  tried  by  them  only  ?  Will  they  be  the  near 
friends  of  the  senators  and  representatives  of  the  other  stait  s  ? 
If  not,  his  objection  goes  for  nothing.  I  do  not  understand 
what  he  says  about  detraction  and  declamation.  My  char- 
acter is  well  known.  I  am  no  declaimer ;  but  when  1  see  a 
gentleman,  ever  so  respectable,  betraying  his  trust  to  the 
public,  I  will  publish  it  loudly ;  and  I  say  this  is  not  detrac* 
tion  or  declamation. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  impeachment  is  very 
different  in  its  nature  from  what  the  learned  gentleman  from 
Granville  supposes  it  to  be.  If  an  officer  commits  an  offence 
against  an  individual,  he  is  amenable  to  the  courts  of  law. 
If  he  commits  crimes  against  the  state,  he  may  be  indicted 
and  punished.  Impeachment  only  extends  to  high  crimes 
and  misdemeanors  in  a  public  office.  It  is  a  mode  of  trial 
pointed  out  for  great  misdemeanors  against  the  public.  But 
I  think  neither  that  gentleman  nor  any  other  person  need 
be  afraid  that  officers  who  commit  oppressions  will  pass  with 
impunity.  It  is  not  to  be  apprehended  that  such  officers 
will  be  tried  by  their  cousins  and  friends.  Such  cannot  be 
on  the  jury  at  the  trial  of  the  cause ;  it  being  a  principle  of 
law  that  no  person  interested  in  a  cause,  or  who  is  a  rela- 
tion of  the  party,  can  be  a  juror  in  it.  This  is  the  light  in 
which  it  strikes  me.  Therefore  the  objection  of  the  gentle- 
man from  Granville  must  necessarily  fall  to  the  ground  on 
that  principle. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  must  obviate  some 
objections  which  have  been  made.  It  was  said,  by  way  of 
argument,  that  they  could  impeach  and  remove  any  officer, 
whether  of  the  United  States  or  any  particular  state.  This 
was  suggested  by  the  gentleman  from  New  Hanover.  Noth- 
ing appears  to  me  more  unnatural  than  such  a  construction. 
The  Constitution  says,  in  one  place,  that  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives shall  have  the  sole  power  of  impeachment.  In 
the  clauses  under  debate,  it  provides  that  the  Senate  shal 


have  the  sole  power  to  try  all  impeachments,  and  then  sub- 
joins, that  judgment,  in  cases  of  impeachment,  shall  not 
extend  further  than  to  removal  from  office,  and  disqualifi 
cation  to  hold  and  enjoy  any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit, 
under  the  United  States.  And  in  the  4th  section  of  the  2(1 
article,  it  says  that  the  President,  Vice-President,  and  all 
civil  officers  of  the  United  States,  shall  be  removed  from  of- 
fice on  i.npeachment  for,  and  conviction  of,  treason,  bribery, 
or  other  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors. 

Now,  sir,  what  can  be  more  clear  and  pbvious  than  this  ? 
The  several  clauses  relate  to  the  same  suhject,  and  ou^ht  to 
be  considered  together.  If  considered  separately  and  un- 
connectedly,  the  meaning  is  still  clear.  They  relate  to  the 
government  of  the  Union  altogether.  Judgment  on  im- 
peachment only  extends  to  removal  from  office,  and  future 
disqualification  to  hold  offices  tinder  the  United  States.  Can 
those  be  removed  from  offices,  and  disqualified  to  hold  offices 
under  the  United  States,  who  actually  held  no  office  undiT 
the  United  States  ?  The  4th  section  of  the  2d  article  pro- 
vides expressly  for  the  removal  of  the  President,  Vice-Pres- 
ident, and  all  civil  officers  of  the  United  States,  on  impeach- 
ment and  conviction.  Does  not  this  clearly  prove  that  none 
but  officers  of  the  United  States  are  impeachable  ?  Had 
any  other  been  impeachable,  why  was  not  provision  made 
for  the  case  of  their  conviction  ?  Why  not  point  out  the 
punishment  in  one  case  as  well  as  in  others  ?  I  heg  leave 
to  observe,  that  this  is  a  Constitution  which  is  not  made 
with  any  ref(5rence  to  the  government  of  any  particular  state, 
or  to  officers  of  particular  states,  but  to  the  government  of 
the  United  States  at  large. 

We  must  suppose  th  it  every  officer  here  spoken  of  must 
be  an  officer  of  the  United  States.  The  words  discover 
the  meaning  as  plainly  as  possible.  The  sentence  which 
provides  that  "judgment,  in  cases  of  impeachment,  shall 
not  extend  further  than  to  removal  from  office,"  is  joined  by 
H conjunction  copulative  to  the  other  sentence,  —  "and  dis- 
qualification to  hold  and  enjoy  any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or 
profit,  under  the  United  States,"  —  which  incontrovertibly 
proves  that  officers  of  the  United  States  only  are  referred  to. 
No  other  grammatical  construction  can  be  put  upon  it. 
But  there  is  no  necessity  to  refer  to  grammatical  construc- 
tions, since  the  whole  plainly  refers  to  the  government  oi 

VOL.  IV.  7  5 

50  DEBATES.  [Spbncsb. 

the  United  Stales  at  large.  The  general  government  can- 
not intermeddle  with  the  internal  affairs  of  the  state  govern- 
ments. They  are  in  no  danger  from  it.  It  has  been  urged 
that  it  h:is  a  tendency  to  a  consolidation.  On  the  contrary,  it 
appears  that  the  state  legislatures  must  exist  in  full  force, 
otherv/ise  the  general  government  cannot  exist  itself.  A 
consolidated  government  would  never  secure  the  happiness 
of  the  people  of  this  country.  It  would  be  the  interest  of 
the  people  of  the  United  States  to  keep  the  general  and  in- 
dividual governments  as  separate  and  distinct  as  possible. 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  confess  I  am 
obliged  to  the  honorable  gentleman  for  his  construction. 
Were  he  to  go  to  Congress,  he  might  put  that  construction 
on  the  Constitution.  But  no  one  can  say  what  construction 
Congress  will  put  upon  it.  I  do  not  distrust  him,  but  I 
distrust  them.  I  wish  to  leave  no  dangerous  latitude  of 

The  1st  clause  of  the  4th  section  read. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  appears  to  me  that 
chis  clause,  giving  this  control  over  the  time,  place,  and 
manner,  of  holding  elections,  to  Congress,  does  away  the 
right  of  the  people  to  choose  the  representatives  every  sec- 
ond year,  and  impairs  the  right  of  the  state  legislatures  to 
choose  the  senators.     I  wish  this  matter  to  be  explained. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chuirman,  I  confess  that  I  am 
a  very  great  admirer  of  the  new  Constitution,  but  I  cannot 
comprehend  the  reason  of  this  part.  The  reason  urged  is, 
that  every  government  ought  to  have  the  power  of  continu- 
ing itself,  and  that,  if  the  general  government  had  not  this 
power,  the  state  legislatures  might  neglect  to  regulate  elec- 
tions, whereby  the  government  might  be  discontinued.  As 
long  as  the  state  legislatures  have  it  in  their  power  not  to 
choose  the  senators,  this  power  in  Congress  appears  to  me 
altogether  useless,  because  they  can  put  an  end  to  the  gen- 
cTal  government  by  refusing  to  choose  senators.  But  I  do 
not  consider  this  such  a  blemish  in  the  Constitution  as  that 
it  ought,  for  that  reason,  to  be  rejected.  I  observe  that  ev-' 
cry  state  which  has  adopted  the  Constitution,  and  recom- 
mended amendments,  has  given  directions  to  remove  this 
objection  ;  and  I  hope,  if  this  state  adopts  it,  she  will  do 
th(»  same. 

Mr.  SPENCER.     Mr.  Chairman,  it  is  with  great  relnc- 


tance  that  I  rise  upon  this  important  occasion.     I  have  con- 
sidered with  some  attention  the  subject  before  us.     I  have 
paid  attention  to  the  Constitution  itself,  and  to  the  writings 
on  both  sides.     I  considered  it  on  one  side  as  well  as  on  the 
other,  in  order  to  know  whether  it  would  be  best  to  adopi 
it  or  not.     I  would  not  wish  to  insinuate  any  reflections  on 
those  gentlemen  who  formed' it.     I  look  upon  it  as  a  great 
performance.     It  has  a  great  deal  of  merit  in  it,  and  it  is, 
perhaps,  as  much  as  any  set  of  men  could  have  done.     Even 
if  it  be  true,  what  gentlemen  have  observed,  that  the  gen- 
tlemen who  were  delegates  to  the  Federal  Convention  were 
not  instructed  to  form  a  new  constitution,  but  to  amend  the 
Confederation,  this   will  be  immaterial,   if  it  be  proper  to 
be  adopted.     It  will   be  of  equal  benefit  to  us,  if  proper  to 
be  adopted  in  the  whole,  or  in  such  parts  as  will  be  neces- 
sary, whether  they  were  expressly  delegated  for  that  purpose 
or  not.     This  appears  to  me  to  be  a  reprehensible  clause  ; 
because  it  seems  to  strike  at  the  state  legislatures,  and  seems 
to  take  away  that  power  of  elecitons  which  reason  dictates 
they  ought  to  have  among  themselves.     It  apparently  looks 
forward  to  a  consolidation  of  the  government  of  the  United 
States,    when    the    state    legislatures    may   entirely   decay 

This  is  one  of  the  grounds  which  have  induced   me  to 
make  objections  to  the  new  form  of  government.     It  ap- 
pears to  me  that  the  state  governments  are  not  sufficiently 
secured,  and  that  they  may  be  swallowed  up  by  the  great 
mass  of  powers  given  to  Congress.     If  that  be  the  case, 
such   power  should  not  be  given ;  for,  from  all  the  notions 
which, we  have  concerning  our  happiness  and   well-being, 
the  state  governments  are  the  basis  of  our  happiness,  secu- 
rity, and  prosperity.     A  large  extent  of  country  ought  to  be 
divided  into  such  a  number  of  states  as  that  the  people  may 
conveniently  carry  on   their  own    government.     This  will 
render  the  government    perfectly  agreeable   to  the  genius 
and  wishes  of  the  people.     If  the   United   States  were  to 
consist  of  ten  times  as  many  states,  they  might  all  have  a 
degree  of  harmony.     Nothing  would  be  wanting  but  some 
cement  for  their  connection.     On  the  contrary,  if  all  the 
Inited  States  were  to  be  swallowed  up  by  the  great  mass 
of  powers  given  to  Congress,  the  parts  that  are  more  dis- 
tant in  this  great  empire  would  be  governed  with  less  and 

&t  DEBATES.  [luEDBLL. 

less  energy.  It  would  not  suit  the  genius  of  the  people  to 
assist  in  the  government.  Nothing  would  support  govern- 
ment, in  such  a  case  as  that,  but  military  coercion.  Armies 
would  be  necessary  in  different  parts  of  the  United  States. 
The  expense  which  they  would  cost,  and  the  burdens  which 
they  would  render  necessary  to  be  laid  upon  the  people, 
would  be  ruinous.  I  know  of  no  way  that  is  likely  to  pro- 
duce the  happiness  of  the  people,  but  to  preserve,  as  far  as 
possible,  the  existence  of  the  several  states,  so  that  they 
shall  not  be  swallowed  up. 

It  has  been  said  that  the  existence  of  the  state  govern 
ments  is  essential  to  that  of  the  general  government,  because 
they  choose  the  senators.  By  this  clause,  it  is  evident  that 
it  is  in  the  power  of  Congress  to  make  any  alterations,  ex- 
cept as  to  the  place  of  choosing  senators.  They  may  alter 
the  time  from  six  to  twenty  years,  or  to  any  time  ;  for  they 
have  an  unlimited  control  over  the  time  of  elections.  They 
have  also  an  absolute  control  over  the  election  of  the  repre- 
sentatives. It  deprives  the  people  of  the  very  mode  of 
choosing  them.  It  seems  nearly  to  throw  the  whole  power 
of  election  into  the  hands  of  Congress.  It  strikes  at  the 
mode,  time,  and  place,  of  choosing  representatives.  It  puts 
all  but  the  place  of  electing  senators  into  the  hands  of  Con- 
gress. This  supersedes  the  necessity  of  continuing  the  state 
legislatures.  This  is  such  an  article  as  I  can  give  no  sanc- 
tion to,  because  it  strikes  at  the  foundation  of  the  govern- 
ments on  which  depends  the  happiness  of  the  states  and  the 
general  government.  It  is  with  reluctance  I  make  the  ob- 
jection. I  have  the  highest  veneration  for  the  characters  of 
the  framers  of  this  Constitution.  I  mean  to  make  objections 
only  which  are  necessary  to  be  made.  I  would  not  take  up 
time  unnecessarily.  As  to  this  matter,  it  strikes  at  the  foun- 
dation of  every  thing.  I  may  say  more  w^hen  we  come  to 
that  part  which  points  out  the  mode  of  doing  without  the 
agency  of  the  state  legislatures. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  am  glad  to  see  so 
much  candor  and  moderation.  The  liberal  sentiments  ex- 
pressed by  the  honorable  gej^tleman  who  spoke  last  com- 
mand my  respect.  No  time  can  be  better  employed  than  in 
endeavoring  to  remove,  by  fair  and  just  reasoning,  every  ob- 
jection which  can  be  made  to  this  Constitution.  I  appre- 
hend   that  the  honorable  gentleman  is  mistaken  as  to  the 


extent  of  the  operation  of  this  clause.  He  supposes  that  the 
control  of  the  general  government  over  elections  looks  for* 
ward  to  a  consolidation  of  the  states,  and  that  the  general 
word  time  may  extend  to  twenty,  or  any  number  of  years. 
In  my  humble  opinion,  this  clause  does  by  no  means  warrant 
such  a  construction.  We  ought  to  compare  other  parts  with 
it.  Does  not  the  Constitution  say  that  representatives  shah 
be  chosen  every  second  year  ?  The  right  of  choosing  them, 
therefore,  reverts  to  the  people  every  second  year.  No  in* 
strument  of  writing  ought  to  be  construed  absurdly,  when  a 
rational  construction  can  be  put  upon  it.  If  Congress  can 
prolong  the  election  to  any  time  they  please,  why  is  it  said 
that  representatives  shall  be  chosen  every  second  year? 
They  must  be  chosen  every  second  year ;  but  whether  in  the 
month  of  March,  or  January,  or  any  other  month,  may  be 
ascertained,  at  a  future  time,  by  regulations  of  Congress. 
The  word  time  refers  only  to  the  particular  month  and  day 
within  the  two  years.  I  heartily  agree  with  the  gentleman, 
(hat,  if  any  thing  in  this  Constitution  tended  to  the  annihila- 
tion of  the  state  government,  instead  of  exciting  the  admira- 
tion of  any  man,  it  ought  to  excite  the  resentment  and 
execration.  No  such  wicked  intention  ought  to  be  suffered. 
But  the  gentlemen  who  formed  the  Constitution  had  no  such 
object;  nor  do  I  think  there  is  the  least  ground  for  that, 
jealousy.  The  very  existence  of  the  general  government 
depends  on  that  of  the  state  governments.  The  state  legisla- 
tures are  to  choose  the  senators.  Without  a  Senate  there 
can  be  no  Congress.  The  state  legislatures  are  also  to  direct 
the  manner  of  choosing  the  President.  Unless,  therefore, 
there  are  state  legislatures  to  direct  that  manner,  no  Presi- 
dent can  be  chosen.  The  same  observation  may  be  made 
as  to  the  House  of  Representatives,  since,  as  they  are  to  be 
chosen  by  the  electors  of  the  most  numerous  branch  of  each 
state  legislature,  if  there  are  no  state  legislatures,  there  are 
no  persons  to  choose  the  House  of  Representatives.  Thus 
it  is  evidi»nt  that  the  very  existence  of  the  general  govern- 
ment depends  on  that  of  the  state  legislatures,  and  of  course, 
that  their  continuance  cannot  be  endangered  by  it. 

An  occasion  may  arise  when  the  exercise  of  this  ultimate 
power  in  Congress  may  be  necessary ;  as,  for  instance,  if  a 
state  should  be  involved  in  war,  and  its  legislature  could  nut 
assemble,  (as  was  the  case  of  South  Carolina,  and  occasion 

54  DEBATES.  [Si  encer. 

ally  of  some  other  states,  during  the  late  war ;)  it  might  also 
be  useful  for  this  reason  —  lest  a  few  powerful  states  should 
combine,  and  make  regulations  concerning  elections  which 
mi^ht  deprive  many  of  the  electors  of  a  fair  exercise  of  their 
rights,  and  thus  injure  the  community,  and  occasion  great 
dissatisfaction.  And  it  seems  natural  and  proper  that  every 
government  should  have  in  itself  the  means  of  its  own  pres- 
ervation. A  few  of  the  great  states  might  combine  to  pre- 
vent any  election  of  representatives  at  all,  and  thus  a  major- 
ity might  be  wanting  to  do  business;  but  it  would  not  be  so 
easy  to  destroy  the  government  by  the  non-election  of  sena 
tors,  because  one  third  only  are  to  go  out  at  a  time,  and  all 
the  states  will  b(^  equally  represented  in  the  Senate.  It  is 
not  probable  this  power  would  be  abused  ;  for,  if  it  should 
be,  the  state  legislatures  would  immediately  resent  it,  and 
their  authority  over  the  people  will  always  be  extremely 
great.  These  reasons  induce  me  to  think  that  the  power  is 
both  necessary  and  useful.  But  I  am  sensible  great  jealousy 
has  been  entertained  concerning  it ;  and  as  perhaps  the 
danger  of  a  combination,  in  the  manner  I  have  mentioned, 
to  destroy  or  distress  the  general  government,  is  not  very 
probable,  it  may  be  better  to  incur  the  risk,  than  occasion 
any  discontent  by  suffering  the  clause  to  continue  as  it  now 
stands.  I  should,  therefore,  not  object  to  the  recommenda- 
tion of  an  amendment  similar  to  that  of  other  states  —  that 
this  power  in  Congress  should  only  be  exercised  when  a 
state  legislature  neglected  or  was  disabled  from  making  the 
regulations  required. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  did  not  mean  to  in- 
sinuate that  designs  were  made,  by  the  honorable  gentlemen 
who  composed  the  Federal  Constitution,  against  our  lib- 
erties. I  only  meant  to  say  that  the  w^ords  in  this  place 
were  exceeding  vague.  It  may  admit  of  the  gentleman's 
construction;  but  it  may  admit  of  a  contrary  construction. 
In  a  matter  of  so  great  moment,  words  ought  not  to  be  so 
vague  and  indeterminate.  I  have  said  that  the  states  are 
the  hASis  on  which  the  government  of  the  United  States 
ought  to  rest,  and  which  must  render  us  secure.  No  man 
wishes  more  for  a  federal  government  than  I  do.  I  think 
it  necessary  for  our  happiness ;  but  at  the  same  time,  when 
we  torm  a  government  which  must  entail  happiness  or 
misery  on  posterity,  nothing  is  of  more  consequence  than 

Bloodworth.]  north   CAROLINA.  65 

settling  it  so  as  to  exclude  animosity  and  a  contest  betweeu 
the  general  and  individual  governments.  With  respect  ti 
the  mode  here  mentioned,  they  are  words  of  very  great  ex 
tent.  This  clause  provides  that  a  Congress  may  at  any 
time  alter  such  regulations,  except  as  to  the  places  of  choosing 
senators.  These  words  are  so  vague  and  uncertain,  that  it 
must  ultimately  destroy  the  whole  liberty  of  the  United 
States.  It  strikes  at  the  very  existence  of  the  states,  and 
supersedes  the  necessity  of  having  them  at  all.  1  would 
therefore  wish  to  have  it  amended  in  such  a  manner  as  that 
the  Congress  should  not  interfere  but  when  the  states  re- 
fused or  neglected  to  regulate  elections. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  trust  that 
such  learned  arguments  as  are  offered  to  reconcile  our  minds 
to  such  dangerous  powers  will  not  have  the  intended  weight. 
The  House  of  Representatives  is  the  only  democraticai 
branch.  This  clause  may  destroy,  representation  entirely. 
What  does  it  say  ?  "  The  times,  places,  and  manner,  of  hold- 
ing elections  for  senators  and  representatives,  shall  be  pre- 
scribed in  each  state  by  the  legislature  thereof;  but  the 
Congress  may  at  any  time,  by  law,  make  or  alter  such 
regulations,  except  as  to  the  places  of  choosing  senators." 
Now,  sir,  does  not  this  clause  give  an  unlimited  and  un- 
bounded power  to  Congress  over  the  times,  places,  and 
manner,  of  choosing  representatives  ?  They  may  make  the 
time  of  election  so  long,  the  place  so  inconvenient,  and  the 
manner  so  oppressive,  that  it  will  entirely  destroy  repre- 
sentation. I  hope  gentlemen  will  exercise  their  own  under- 
standing on  this  occasion,  and  not  let  their  judgment  be  led 
away  by  these  shining  characters,  for  whom,  however,  I 
have  the  highest  respect.  This  Constitution,  if  adopted  in 
its  present  mode,  must  end  in  the  subversion  of  our  liberties. 
Suppose  it  takes  place  in  North  Carolina ;  can  farmers 
elect  them  ?  No,  sir.  The  elections  may  be  in  such  a 
manner  that  men  may  be  appointed  who  are  not  repre- 
sentatives of  the  people.  This  may  exist,  and  it  ought  to 
be  guarded  against.  As  to  the  place,  suppose  Congress 
should  order  the  elections  to  be  held  in  the  most  incon- 
venient place  in  the  most  inconvenient  district ;  could  every 
person  entitled  to  vote  attend  at  such  a  place?  Suppose 
they  should  order  it  to  be  laid  off  into  so  many  districts,  and 
order  the  election  to  be  held  within  each  district ,  yc^t  may 

6fa  DEBATES.  [JoMNiiToii 

not  their  power  over  the  manner  of  election  enable  them  to 
exclude  from  voting  every  description  of  men  they  please  ^ 
The  democratic  branch  is  so  much  endangered,  that  no 
arguments  can  be  made  use  of  to  satisfy  my  mind  to  it. 
The  honorable  gentleman  has  amused  us  with  learned  dis- 
cussions, and  told  us  he  will  condescend  to  propose  amend- 
ments. I  hope  the  representatives  of  North  Carolina  will 
never  swallow  the  Constitution  till  it  is  amended. 

Mr.  GOUDY.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  invasion  of  these 
states  is  urged  as  a  reason  for  this  clause.  But  why  did 
they  not  mention  that  it  should  be  only  in  cases  of  inva- 
sion ?  But  that  was  not  the  reason,  in  my  humble  opinion. 
I  fear  it  was  a  combination  against  our  liberties.  I  ask, 
when  we  give  them  the  purse  in  one  hand,  and  the  sword 
in  another,  what  power  have  we  left  ?  It  will  lead  to  an 
aristocratical  government,  and  establish  tyranny  over  us. 
We  are  freemen,  and  we  ought  to  have  the  privileges  of 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  do  not  impute 
any  impure  intentions  to  the  gentlemen  who  formed  this 
Constitution.  I  think  it  unwarrantable  in  any  one  to  do  it. 
I  believe  that  were  there  twenty  conventions  appointed,  and 
as  many  constitutions  formed,  we  never  could  get  men 
more  able  and  disinterested  than  those  who  formed  this ; 
nor  a  constitution  less  exceptionable  than  that  which  is  now 
before  you.  I  am  not  apprehensive  that  this  article  will  be 
attended  with  all  the  fatal  consequences  which  the  gentle- 
man conceives.  I  conceive  that  Congress  can  have  no  other 
power  than  the  states  had.  The  states,  with  regard  to 
elections,  must  be  governed  by  the  articles  of  the  Constitu- 
tion ;  so  must  Congress.  But  I  believe  the  power,  as  it 
now  stands,  is  unnecessary.  I  should  be  perfectly  satisfied 
with  it  in  the  mode  recommended  by  the  worthy  member 
on  my  right  hand.  Although  I  should  be  extremely  can 
tious  to  adopt  any  constitution  that  would  endanger  the 
rights  and  privileges  of  the  people,  I  have  no  fear  in  adopt- 
ing this  Constitution,  and  then  proposing  amendments.  I 
feel  as  much  attachment  to  the  rights  and  privileges  of  my 
country  as  any  man  in  it;  and  if  I  thought  any  thing  in 
this  Constitution  tended  to  abridge  these  rights,  I  would 
not  agree  to  it.  I  cannot  conceive  that  this  is  the  case.  I 
have  not  the  least  doubt  but  it  will  be  adopted  by  a  very  ^reat 


majority  of  the  states.  For  states  who  have  been  as  jealous 
of  their  liberties  as  any  in  the  world  have  adopted  it,  and 
they  are  some  of  the  most  powerful  states.  We  shall  have 
the  assent  of  all  the  states  in  getting  amendments.  Some 
gentlemen  have  apprehensions  that  Congress  will  immedi- 
ately conspire  to  destroy  the  liberties  of  their  country.  The 
men  of  whom  Congress  will  consist  are  to  be  chosen  from 
among  ourselves.  They  will  be  in  the  same  situation  with 
us.  They  are  to  be  bone  of  our  bone  and  flesh  of  our  flesh. 
They  cannot  injure  us  without  injuring  themselves.  I  have 
no  doubt  but  we  shall  choose  the  best  men  in  the  com- 
munity. Should  different  men  be  appointed,  they  are 
sufficiently  responsible.  I  therefore  think  that  no  danger  is 
to  be  apprehended. 

Mr.  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  the  highest 
esteem  for  the  gentleman  who  spoke  last.  He  has  amused 
us  with  the  fine  characters  of  those  who  formed  that  gov- 
ernment. Some  were  good,  but  some  were  very  imperious, 
aristocratical,  despotic,  and  monarchical.  If  parts  of  it  are 
extremely  good,  other  parts  are  very  bad. 

The  freedom  of  election  is  one  of  the  greatest  securities 
we  have  for  our  liberty  and  privileges.  It  was  supposed  by 
the  member  from  Edenton,  that  the  control  over  elections 
was  only  given  to  Congress  to  be  used  in  case  of  invasion. 
I  differ  from  him.  That  could  not  have  been  their  intention, 
otherwise  they  could  have  expressed  it.  But,  sir,  it  points 
forward  to  the  time  when  there  will  be  no  state  legislatures 
—  to  the  consolidation  of  all  the  states.  The  states  will  be 
kept  up  as  boards  of  elections.  I  think  the  same  men  could 
raake  a  better  constitution ;  for  good  government  is  not  the 
work  of  a  short  time.  They  only  had  their  own  wisdom. 
Were  they  to  go  now,  they  would  have  the  wisdom  of  the 
United  States.  Every  gentleman  who  must  reflect  on  this 
must  see  it.  The  adoption  of  several  other  states  is  urged. 
1  hope  every  gentleman  stands  for  himself,  will  act  accord- 
ing to  his  own  judgment,  and  will  pay  no  respect  to  the 
adoption  by  the  other  states.  It  may  embarrass  us  in  some 
political  difficulties,  but  let  us  attend  to  the  interest  of  our 

Mr.  IREDELL  answered,  that  he  stated  the  case  of 
invasion  as  only  one  reason  out  of  many  for  giving  the  ulti- 
mate control  over  elections  to  Congress. 

VOL,  IV.  8 

.68  DEBATES.  [Dayik. 

Mr.  DWIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  a  consolidation  of  the 
states  is  said  by  some  gentlemen  to  have  been  intended. 
They  insinuate  that  this  was  the  cause  of  their  giving  this 
power  of  elections.  If  there  were  any  seeds  in  this  Con- 
stitution which  might,  one  day,  produce  a  consolidation, 
it  would,  sir,  with  me,  he  an  insuperable  objection,  I  am 
so  perfectly  convinced  that  so  extensive  a  country  as  this 
can  never  be  managed  by  one  consolidated  government. 
The  Federal  Convention  were  as  well  convinced  as  the 
members  of  this  house,  that  the  state  governments  were  ab- 
solutely necessary  to  the  existence  of  the  federal  government^ 
They  considered  them  as  the  great  massy  pillars  on  which 
this  political  fabric  was  to  be  extended  and  supported;  and 
were  fully  persuaded  that,  when  they  were  removed,  or 
should  moulder  down  by  time,  the  general  government  must 
tumble  into  ruin.  A  very  little  reflection  will  show  that  no 
department  of  it  can  exist  without  the  state  governments. 

Let  us  begin  with  the  House  if  Representatives.  Who 
are  to  vote  for  the  federal  representatives?  Those  who  vote 
for  the  state  representatives.  If  the  state  government  van- 
ishes, the  general  government  must  vanish  also.  This  is 
the  foundation  on  which  this  government  was  raised,  and 
without  which  it  cannot  possibly  exist. 

The  next  department  is  the  Senate.  How  is  it  formed  ? 
By  the  states  themselves.  Do  they  not  choose  them  ?  Are 
they  not  created  by  them  ?  And  will  they  not  have  the  in- 
terest of  the  states  particularly  at  heart  ?  The  states,  sir, 
can  put  a  final  period  to  the  government,  as  was  observed  by  a 
gentleman  who  thought  this  power  over  elections  unneces- 
sary. If  the  state  legislatures  think  proper,  they  may  refuse 
to  choose  senators,  and  the  government  must  be  destroyed. 

Is  not  this  government  a  nerveless  mass,  a  dead  carcase, 
without  the  executive  power?  Let  your  representatives  be 
the  most  vicious  demons  that  ever  existed ;  let  them  plot 
against  the  liberties  of  America ;  let  them  conspire  against 
its  happiness,  — all  their  machinations  will  not  avail  if  not 
put  in  execution.  By  whom  are  their  laws  and  projects  to 
be  executed  ?  By  the  President.  How  is  he  created  ?  By 
electors  appointed  by  the  people  under  the  direction  of  the 
legislatures  —  by  a  union  of  the  interest  of  the  people  and 
the  state  governments.  The  state  governments  can  put  a 
t?eto,  at  any  time,  on  the  general  government,  by  ceasing  to 
continue  the  executive  power.     Admitting  the  representa* 

Davie.]  NORTH   CAROLINA  69 

1-ives  or  senators  could  make  corrupt  laws,  they  can  neithei 
execute  them  themselves,  nor  appoint  the  execiutive.     Now, 
sir,  I  think  it  must  be  clear  to  every  candid  mind,  that  no 
part  of  this  government  can  be  continued  after  the  state  gov- 
ernments lose  their  existence,  or  even  their  present  forms. 
It  may  also  be  easily  proved  that  all  federal  governments 
jiossess  an  inherent  weakness,  which  continually  tends  to 
their  destruction.     It  is  to  be  lamented  that  all  governments 
of  a  federal  nature  have  been  short-lived. 

Such  was  the  fate  of  the  Achaean  league,  the  Amphicty- 
ouic  council,  and  other  ancient  confederacies  ;  and  this  opin- 
ion is  confirmed    by   the  uniform  testimony  of  all  history. 
There  are  instances  in  Europe  of  confederacies  subsisting  a 
considerable  time ;  but  their  duration  must  be  attributed  to 
circumstances  exterior  to  their  government.     The  Germanic 
confederacy  would  not  exist  a  moment,  were  it  not  for  fear 
of  the  surrounding  powers,  and  the  interest  of  the  emperor. 
The  history  of  this  confederacy  is  but  a  series  of  factions, 
dissensions,  bloodshed,  and  civil  war.     The  confederacies  of 
the  Swiss,  and  United  Netherlands,  would  long  ago  have 
been  destroyed,  from  their  imbecility,  had  it  not  been  for  the 
fear,  and  even  the  policy,  of  the  bordering  nations.     It  is 
impossible  to  construct  such  a  government  in  such  a  manner 
as  to  give  it  any  probable  longevity.     But,  sir,  there  is  an 
excellent  principle  in  this  proposed  plan  of  federal  govern- 
ment,  which  none  of  these  confederacies  had,  and  to  the 
want  of  which,  in  a  great  measure,  their  imperfections  may 
be  justly  attributed  —  I  mean  the  principle  of  representation. 
I  hope  that,  by  the  agency  of  this  principle,  if  it  be  not  im- 
mortal, it  will  at  least  be  long-lived.     I  thought  it  necessary 
to  say  this  much  to  detect  the  futility  of  that  unwarrantable 
suggestion,  that  we  are  to  be  swallowed  up  by  a  great  con- 
solidated  government.     Every  part  of  this  federal  govern- 
ment is  dependent  on  the  constitution  of  the  state  legisla- 
tures for  its  existence.     The  whole,  sir,  can  never  swallow 
up  its  parts.     The  gentleman  from  Edenton  (Mr.  Iredell) 
has  pointed  out  the  reasons  of  giving  this  control  over  elec- 
tions to  Congress,  the  principal  of  which  was,  to  prevent  a 
dissolution  of  the  government  by  designing  states.     If  all  the 
Slates  were  equally  possessed  of  absolute  power  over  their 
elections,  without  any  control  of  Congress,  danger  might  be 
jusdy  apprehended  where  one  state  possesses  as  much  terri- 


lOry  as  four  or  five  others ;  and  some  of  them,  being  thinly 
peopled  now,  will  daily  become  more  numerous  and  formida- 
ble. Without  this  control  in  Congress,  those  large  states 
might  successfully  combine  to  destroy  the  general  govern- 
ment. It  was  therefore  necessary  to  control  any  combina- 
tion of  this  kind. 

Another  principal  reason  was,  that  it  would  operate,  in 
favor  of  the  people,  against  the  ambitious  designs  of  the  fed- 
eral Senate.  I  will  illustrate  this  by  matter  of  fact.  The 
history  of  the  little  state  of  Rhode  Island  is  well  known.  An 
abandoned  faction  have  seized  on  the  reins  of  government, 
and  frequently  refused  to  have  any  representation  in  Con 
gress.  If  Congress  had  the  |)ower  of  making  the  law  of 
elections  operate  throughout  the  United  States,  no  state 
could  withdraw  itself  from  the  national  councils,  without  the 
consent  of  a  majority  of  the  members  of  Congress.  Had  this 
been  the  case,  that  trifling  state  would  not  have  withheld  its 
representation.  What  once  happened  may  happen  again  ; 
and  it  was  necessary  to  give  Congress  this  power,  to  keep  the 
government  in  full  operation.  This  being  a  federal  govern- 
ment, and  involving  the  interests  of  several  states,  and  some 
acts  requiring  the  assent  of  more  than  a  majority,  they  ought 
to  be  able  to  keep  their  representation  full.  It  would  have 
been  a  solecism,  to  have  a  government  without  any  means  of 
self-preservation.  The  Confederation  is  the  only  instance 
of  a  government  without  such  means,  and  is  a  nerveless  sys- 
tem, as  inadequate  to  every  purpose  of  government  as  it  is  to 
the  security  of  the  liberties  of  the  people  of  America.  When 
the  councils  of  America  have  this  power  over  elections,  they 
can,  in  spite  of  any  faction  in  any  particular  state,  give  the 
people  a  representation.  Uniformity  in  matters  of  election 
is  also  of  the  greatest  consequence.  They  ought  all  to  be 
judged  by  the  same  law  and  the  same  principles,  and  not  to 
be  different  in  one  state  from  what  thev  are  in  another.  At 
present,  the  manner  of  electing  is  different  in  different  states. 
Some  elect  by  ballot,  and  others  viva  voce.  It  will  be  more 
convenient  to  have  the  manner  uniform  in  all  the  states.  I 
shall  now  answer  some  observations  made  by  the  gentleman 
from  Mecklenburg  He  has  stated  that  this  power  over 
elections  gave  to  Congress  power  to  lengthen  the  time  for 
which  they  were  <  lected.  Let  us  read  this  clause  coolly, 
all  prejudice  aside,  and  determine  whether  this  construction 

Dahe.]  north   CAROLINA.  Ql 

he  warrantable.      The   clause   runs    thus :    "  The    times 
places,  and  manner,  of  holding  elections  for  senators  and 
representatives,  shall  be  prescribed  in  each  state  by  the  legis- 
lature thereof;  but  the  Congress  may  at  any  time,  by  law, 
make  or  alter  such  regulations,  except  as  to  the  place  ot 
choosing  senators."     I  take  it  as  a  fundamental  principle, 
which  is  beyond  the  reach    of   the    general   or   individual 
governments  to  alter,  that  the  representatives  shall  be  chosen 
every  second  year,  and  that  the  tenure  of  their  office  shall 
be  for  two  years ;  that  senators  be  chosen  every  sixth  year, 
and  that  the  tenure  of  their  office  be  for  six  years.     F  take  it 
also  as  a  principle,  that  the  electors  of  the  most  numerous 
branch    of  the  state    legislatures  are    to    elect  the  federal 
representatives.      Congress    has    ultimately  no  power  over 
elections,  but  what  is  primarily  given  to  the  state  legisla- 
tures.    Ff  Congress  had  the  power  of  prolonging  the  time, 
&c.,  as  gentlemen  observe,  the  same  powers  must  be  com- 
pletely vested  in  the  state  legislatures.     I  call  upon  every 
gentleman  candidly  to  declare,  whether  the  state  legislatures 
have  the  power  of  altering  the  time  of  elections  for  repre- 
sentatives from  two  to  four  years,  or  senators  from  six  to 
twelve ;  and  whether  they  have  the  power  to  require  any 
other  qualifications  than  those  of  the  most  numerous  branch 
of  the  state  legislatures ;  and  also  whether  they  have  any 
other  power  over  the  manner  of  elections,  any  more  than  the 
mere  mode  of  the  act  of  choosing  ;  or  whether  they  shall  be 
held  by  sheriffs,  as  contradistinguished  from  any  other  officer  ; 
or  whether  they  shall  be  by  votes,  as  contradistinguished  from 
ballots,  or  any  other  way.    Ff  gentlemen  will  pay  attention, 
they  will  find  that,  in  the  latter  part  of  this  clause,  Congress 
has  no  power  but  what  was  given  to  the  states  in  the  first  part 
of  the  same  clause.    They  may  alter  the  manner  of  holding  the 
election,  but  cannot  alter  the  tenure  of  their  office.    They  can- 
not alter  the  nature  of  the  elections ;  for  it  is  established,  as 
fundamental  principles,  that  the  electors  of  the  most  numerous 
branch  of  the  state  legislature  shall  elect  the  federal  repre- 
sentatives, and  that  the  tenure  of  their  office  shall  be  for  two 
years  ;  and  likewise,  that  the  senators  shall  be  elected  by 
the  legislatures,  and  that  the  tenure  of  their  office  shall  be 
for  six  years.     When  gentlemen  view  the  clause  accurately, 
and  see  that  Congress  have  only  the  same  power  which  was 
io  the    state   legislature,  they  will   not  be   alarmed.     The 


62  DEBATES.  [Caluweli:-. 

learned  do(  tor  on  my  right  (Mr.  Spencer)  has  also  said  that 
Congress  might  lengthen  the  time  of  elections.  I  am  will- 
ing to  appeal  to  grammatical  construction  and  punctuation. 
Let  me  read  this,  as  it  stands  on  paper.  [Here  he  read  the 
clause  different  ways,  expressing  the  same  sense.]  Here, 
in  the  first  part  of  the  clause,  this  power  over  elections  is 
given  to  the  states,  and  in  the  latter  part  the  same  power  is 
given  to  Congress,  and  extending  only  to  the  time  of  hold- 
ing,  the  place  of  holdingy  and  the  manner  of  holdings  the 
elections.  Is  this  not  the  plain,  literal,  and  grammatical 
construction  of  the  clause  ?  Is  it  possible  to  put  any  other 
construction  on  it,  without  departing  from  the  natural  order, 
and  without  deviating  from  the  general  meaning  of  the  words, 
and  every  rule  of  grammatical  construction  ?  Twist  it,  tor- 
ture it,  as  you  may,  sir,  it  is  impossible  to  fix  a  different  sense 
upon  it.  The  worthy  gentleman  from  New  Hanover,  (whose 
ardor  for  the  liberty  of  his  country  I  wish  never  to  be  damped,) 
has  insinuated  that  high  characters  might  influence  the  mem- 
bers on  this  occasion.  F  declare,  for  my  own  part,  I  wish 
every  man  to  be  guided  by  his  own  conscience  and  under- 
standing, and  by  nothing  else.  Every  man  has  not  been 
bred  a  politician,  nor  studied  the  science  of  government; 
yet,  when  a  subject  is  explained,  if  the  mind  is  unwarped  by 
prejudice,  and  not  in  the  leading-strings  of  other  people, 
gentlemen  will  do  what  is  right.  Were  this  the  cas<%  1 
would  risk  my  salvation  on  a  right  decision. 

Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  those  things  which 
can  be  may  be.  We  know  that,  in  the  British  government, 
the  members  of  Parliament  were  eligible  only  for  three 
years.  They  determined  they  might  be  chosen  for  seven 
years.  If  Congress  can  alter  the  time,  manner,  and  place, 
I  think  it  will  enable  them  to  do  what  the  British  Par- 
liament once  did.  They  have  declared  that  the  elections 
of  senators  are  for  six  years,  and  of  representatives  for  two 
years.  But  they  have  said  there  was  an  exception  to  this 
general  declaration,  viz.,  that  Congress  can  alter  th(»m.  If 
the  Convention  only  meant  that  they  should  alter  them  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  prevent  a  discontinuation  of  the  gov- 
ernment, why  have  they  not  said  so?  It  must  appear  to 
every  gentleman  in  this  Convention,  that  they  can  alter 
the  elections  to  what  time  they  please.  And  if  the  British 
Parliament  did  once  give  themselves  the  powder  of  sitting 
four  years  longer  than   they  had  a  right  to  do,   Congress, 


having  a  standing  army,  and  the  command  of  the  militia, 
may,  with  the  same  propriety,  make  an  act  to  continue  the 
members  for  twenty  years,  or  even  for  their  natural  lives. 
This  construction  apj)ears  perfectly  rational  to  me.  I  shall 
therefore  think  that  this  Convention  will  never  swallow  such 
a  government,  without  securing  us  against  danger. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  reverend  gentle- 
man from  Guilford  has  made  an  objection  which  astonishes 
me  more  than  any  thing  I  have  heard.  He  seems  to  be 
acquainted  with  the  history  of  England,  but  he  ought  to 
consider  whether  his  historical  references  apply  to  this 
country.  He  tells  us  of  triennial  elections  being  changed 
to  septennial  elections.  This  is  an  historical  fact  we  well 
know,  and  the  occasion  on  which  it  happened  is  equally 
well  known.  Tht»y  talk  as  loudly  of  constitutional  rights 
and  privileges  in  England  as  we  do  here,  but  they  have 
no  written  constitution.  They  have  a  common  law, —  which 
has  l)een  altered  from  year  to  year,  for  a  very  lonij  p(*riod, 
—  Magna  Charta,  and  bill  of  rights.  These  they  look  upon 
as  their  constitution.  Yet  this  is  such  a  constituti(m  as  it 
is  universally  considered  Parliament  can  change.  Black- 
stone,  in  his  admirable  Commentaries,  tells  us  that  the 
power  of  the  Parliament  is  transcendent  and  absolute,  and 
can  do  and  undo  every  thing  that  is  not  naturally  impos- 
sible. The  act,  therefore,  to  which  the  reverend  gentle- 
man alludes,  was  not  unconstitutional.  Has  any  man  said 
that  the  legislature  can  deviate  from  this  Constitution  ? 
The  legislature  is  to  be  guided  by  the  Constitution.  They 
cannot  travel  beyond  its  bounds.  The  reverend  gentleman 
says,  that,  though  the  representatives  are  to  be  (elected  for 
two  years,  they  may  pass  an  act  prolonging  their  appoint- 
ment for  twenty  years,  or  for  natural  life,  without  any  vio- 
lation of  the  Constitution.  Is  it  possible  for  any  common 
understanding  or  sense  to  put  this  construction  upon  it  ? 
Such  an  act,  sir,  would  be  a  palpable  violation  of  the  Con- 
stitution :  were  they  to  attempt  it,  sir,  the  country  would 
rise  against  them.  After  such  an  unwarrantable  suggestion 
as  this,  any  objection  may  be  made  to  this  Constitution.  It 
is  necessary  to  give  power  to  the  government.  I  would 
ask  that  gentleman  who  is  so  much  afraid  it  will  destroy 
our  liberties,  why  he  is  not  as  much  afraid  of  our  state  legis- 
lature ;  for  they  have  much  more  power  than  we  are  now 

64  DEBATES.  [JoHNSToii. 

proposing  to  give  this  general  government.  They  have  an 
unlimited  control  over  the  purse  and  sword  ;  yet  no  com- 
plaints are  made.  Why  is  he  not  as  much  afraid  that  our 
legislature  will  call  out  the  militia  to  destroy  our  liberties  ? 
Will  the  militia  be  called  out  by  the  general  government  to 
enslave  the  people  —  to  enslave  their  friends,  their  families, 
themselves  ?  The  idea  of  the  militia  being  m  ide  use  of,  as 
an  instrument  to  destroy  our  liberties,  is  almost  too  absurd 
to  merit  a  refutation.  It  cannot  be  supposed  that  the  repre- 
sentatives of  our  general  government  will  be  worse  men 
than  the  members  of  our  state  government.  Will  we  be  such 
fools  as  to  send  our  greatest  rascals  to  the  general  govern- 
ment ?  We  must  be  both  fools  as  well  as  villains  to  do  so. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  shall  offer  some 
observations  on  what  the  gentleman  said.  A  parallel  has 
been  drawn  between  the  British  Parliament  and  Congress. 
The  powers  of  Congress  are  all  circumscribed,  defined,  and 
clearly  laid  down.  So  far  they  may  go,  but  no  farther.  But, 
sir,  what  are  the  powers  of  the  British  Parliament  ?  They 
have  no  written  constitution  in  Britain.  They  have  certain 
fundamental  principles  and  legislative  acts,  securing  the 
liberty  of  the  people  ;  but  these  may  be  altered  by  their 
representatives,  without  violating  their  constitution,  in  such 
manner  as  they  may  think  proper.  Their  legislature  existed 
long  before  the  science  of  government  was  well  understood. 
From  very  early  periods,  you  find  their  Parliament  in  full 
force.  What  is  their  Magna  Charta  ?  It  is  only  an  act  of 
Parliament.  Their  Parliament  can,  at  any  time,  alter  the 
whole  or  any  part  of  it.  In  short,  it  is  no  more  binding  on 
the  people  than  any  other  act  which  has  passed.  The  pow- 
t^r  of  the  Parliament  is,  therefore,  unfunded.  But,  sir,  can 
Congress  alter  the  Constitution  ?  They  have  no  such  power. 
They  are  bound  to  act  by  the  Constitution.  They  dare  not 
recede  from  it.  At  the  moment  that  the  time  for  which 
they  are  elected  expires,  they  may  be  removed.  If  they 
make  bad  laws,  they  will  be  removed  ;  for  they  will  be  no 
longer  worthy  of  confidence.  The  British  Parliament  can 
do  every  thing  they  please.  Their  bill  of  rights  is  only  an 
act  of  Parliament,  which  may  be,  at  any  time,  altered  or 
modified,  without  a  violation  of  the  constitution.  The  peo- 
ple of  Great  Britain  have  no  constitution  to  control  theii 
legislature.  The  king,  lords,  and  commons,  can  do  what 
they  please. 


Mr.   CALDWELL   observed,  that    whatever    nominal 
powers  the  British  Parliament  might  possess,  yet  they  haa 
infringed  the  liberty  of  the  people  in  the  most  flagrfint  man- 
ner, by  giving  themselves  power  to  continue  four  years  in 
l^arliament  longer  than  they  had  been  elected  for  —  that 
l-hough  they  were  only  chosen  for  three  years  by  their  con- 
stituents, yet  they  passed  an  act  that  representatives  should, 
for  the  future,  be  chosen  for  seven  years —  that  this  Consti 
t:ution  would  have  a  dangerous  tendency  —  that  this  clause 
>vould  enable  them  to  prolong  their  continuance  in  office  as 
long  as  they  pleased  —  and  that,  if  a  constitution  was  not 
agreeable  to  the  people,  its  operation  could  not  be  happy. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  replied,  that  the  act  to  which  allusior. 
was  made  by  the  gentleman  was  not  unconstitutional ;  bui 
that,  if  Congress  were  to  pass  an  act  prolonging  the  term> 
of  elections  of  senators  or  representatives,  it  would  be  clearl} 

Mr.  MACLAINE  observed,  that  the  act  of  Parliament 
referred  to  was  passed  on  urgent  necessity,  when  George  I 
ascended  the  throne,  to  prevent  the  Papists  from  getting 
into  Parliament ;  for  parties  ran  so  high  at  that  time,  that 
Papists  enough  might  have  got  in  to  destroy  the  act  of  set- 
tlement which  excluded  the  Roman  Catholics  from  the  suc- 
cession to  the  throne. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  The  gentleman  from  Halifax  said,  that 
the  reason  of  this  clause  was,  that  some  states  might  be  re- 
fractory. I  profess  that,  in  my  opinion,  the  circumstances 
of  Rhode  Island  do  not  appear  to  apply.  1  cannot  conceive 
the  particular  cause  why  Rhode  Island  should  not  send  rep- 
resentatives to  Congress.  If  they  were  united  in  one  gov- 
ernment, is  it  presumed  that  they  would  waive  the  right  of 
representation  r  I  have  not  the  least  reason  to  doubt  they 
would  make  use  of  the  privilege.  With  respect  to  the  con- 
struction that  the  worthy  member  put  upon  the  clause,  were 
that  construction  established,  I  would  be  satisfied  ;  but  it  is 
susceptible  of  a  different  explanation.  They  may  alter  the 
mode  of  election  so  as  to  deprive  the  people  of  the  right  of 
choosing.  I  wish  to  have  it  expressed  in  a  more  explicit 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  has  certainly 
Misconceived  the  matter,  when  he  says  "  that  the  circum- 
stances of  Rhode  Island  do  not  apply."     It  is  a  fact  welt 

VOL.  IV.  9 

66  DEBATES.  [Davie. 

known  of  which,  pernaps,  he  may  not  be  possessed,  that 
the  state  of  Rhode  Island  has  not  been  regularly  represented 
for  several  years,  owing  to  the  character  and  particular  views 
of  the  prevailing  party.  By  the  influence  of  this  faction, 
who  are  in  possession  of  the  state  government,  the  people 
have  been  frequently  deprived  of  the  benefit  of  a  represen- 
tation in  the  Union,  and  Congress  often  embarrassed  by  their 
absence.  The  same  evil  may  again  result  from  the  same 
cause ;  and  Congress  ought,  therefore,  to  possess  constitu- 
tional power  to  give  the  people  an  opportunity  of  electing 
representatives,  if  the  states  neglect  or  refuse  to  do  it.  The 
gentleman  from  Anson  has  said,  "  that  this  clause  is  suscep- 
tible of  an  explanation  different  from  the  construction  I  put 
upon  it."  I  have  a  high  respect  for  his  opinion,  but  that 
alone,  on  this  important  occasion,  is  not  satisfactory  :  we 
must  have  some  reasons  from  him  to  support  and  sahction 
this  opinion.  Fie  is  a  professional  man,  and  has  held  an 
office  many  years,  the  nature  and  duties  of  which  would  en- 
able him  to  put  a  different  construction  on  this  clause,  if  it  is 
capable  of  it. 

This  clause,  sir,  has  been  the  occasion  of  much  groundless 
alarm,  and  has  been  the  favorite  theme  of  declamation  out 
of  doors.  I  now  call  upon  the  gentlemen  of  the  opposition 
to  show  that  it  contains  the  mischiefs  with  which  they  have 
alarmed  and  agitated  the  public  mind,  and  I  defy  them  to 
support  the  construction  they  have  put  upon  it  by  one  single 
plausible  reason.  The  gentleman  from  New  Hanover  has 
said,  in  objection  to  this  clause,  "  that  Congress  may  appoint 
the  most  inconvenient  place  in  the  most  inconvenient  dis- 
trict, and  make  the  manner  of  election  so  oppressive  as 
entirely  to  destroy  representation."  If  this  is  considered  as 
possible,  he  should  also  reflect  that  the  state  legislatures 
may  do  the  same  thing.  But  this  can  never  happen,  sir, 
until  the  whole  mass  of  the  people  become  corrupt,  when 
all  parchment  securities  will  be  of  little  service.  Does  that 
gentleman,  or  any  other  gentleman  who  has  the  smallest 
acquaintance  with  human  nature  or  the  spirit  of  America, 
suppose  that  the  p(*ople  will  passively  relinquish  privileges, 
or  suffer  the  usurpation  of  powers  unwarranted  by  the  Con- 
stitution ?  Docs  not  the  right  of  electing  representatives 
revert  to  the  people  every  second  year  ?  There  is  nothing 
in  this  clause  that  can  impede  or  destroy  this  reversion  ;  and 

BloodwoathJ  north  CAROLINA.  67 

although  the  particular  time  of  year,  the  particular  place  in  a 
county  or  a  district,  or  the  particular  mode  in  which  elec- 
tions are  to  be  held,  as  whether  by  vote  or  ballot,  be  left  to 
Congress  to  direct,  yet  this  can  never  deprive  the  people  of 
the  right  or  privilege  of  election.  He  has  also  added,  "  that 
the  deraocratical  branch  was  in  danger  from  this  clause ; " 
and,  with  some  other  gentlemen,  took  it  for  granted  that  an 
aristocracy  must  arise  out  of  the  general  government.  This, 
1  take  it,  from  the  very  nature  of  the  thing,  can  never  happen. 
Aristocracies  grow  out  of  the  combination  of  a  few  powerful 
families,  where  the  country  or  people  upon  which  they  are 
to  operate  are  immediately  under  their  influence ;  whereas 
the  interest  and  influence  of  this  government  are  too  weak, 
and  too  much  diffused,  ever  to  bring  about  such  an  event. 
The  x^onfidence  of  the  people,  acquired  by  a  wise  and 
virtuous  conduct,  is  the  only  influence  the  members  of  the 
federal  government  can  ever  have.  When  aristocracies  are 
formed,  they  will  arise  within  the  individtial  states.  It  is 
therefore  absolutely  necessary  that  Congress  should  have  a 
constitutional  power  to  give  the  people  at  large  a  represen- 
tation in  the  government,  in  order  to  break  and  control  such 
dangerous  combinations.  Let  gentlemen  show  when  and 
how  this  aristocracy  they  talk  of  is  to  arise  out  of  this  Con- 
stitution. Are  the  first  members  to  perpetuate  themselves? 
Is  the  Constitution  to  be  attacked  by  such  al)surd  assertions 
as  these,  and  charged  with  defects  with  which  it  has  no 
possible  connection  r 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman 
has  mistaken  me.  When  we  examine  the  gentleman's  ar- 
guments, they  have  no  weight.  He  tells  us  that  it  is  not 
probable  "  that  an  aristocracy  can  arise."  I  did  not  say  that 
it  would.  Various  arguments  are  brought  forward  in  sup- 
port of  this  article.  They  are  vague  and  trifling.  There  is 
nothing  that  can  be  offered  to  my  mind  which  will  reconcile 
me  to  it  while  this  evil  exists  —  while  Congress  have  this 
control  over  elections.  It  was  easy  for  them  to  mention 
that  this  control  should  only  be  exerted  when  the  state 
W'ould  neglect,  or  refuse,  or  be  unable  in  case  of  invasion, 
to  regulate  elections.  If  so,  why  did  they  not  mention  it 
expressly  ? 

It  appears  to  me  that  some  of  their  general  observations 
imply  a  contradiction.     Do  they  not  tell  us  that  there  is  no 

t>&  DEBATES.  [HACLAfn 

qanger  of  a  consolida^iop  ?  that  Congress  can  exist  no  longei 
than  the  states  —  the  massy  pillars  on  which  it  is  said. to  be 
raised?  Do  they  not  also  tell  us  that  the  state  governmeuts 
,are  to  secure  us  against  Congress  ?  At  another  time,  they 
tell  u^  that  it  was  unnecessary  to^sejcure  our  liberty  by  giving 
them  power  to  prevent  the  state  governments  from  oppressing 
us.  VVe  know  that  there  is  a  corruption  iti  human  nature. 
Without  circumspection  and  carefulness,  we  shall  throw 
away  our  liberties.  Why  is  this  general  expression  used  on 
this  great  occasion  ?  Why  not  use  expressions  that  were 
clear  and  unequivocal  ?  If  I  trust  my  property  with  a  man 
and  take  security,  shall  I  then  barter  away  my  rights  ? 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  clause  may  operati 
in  such  a  manner  as  will  abridge  the  liberty  of  the  people 
It  is  vvell  known  that  men  in  power  are  apt  to  abuse  it,  and 
extend  it  if  possible.  From  the  ambiguity  of  this  expres- 
sion, they  may  put  such  construction  upon  it  as  may  suit 
them.  1  would  not  h^ve  it  in  such  a  manner  as  to  endangei 
the  rights  of  the  people.  But  it  has  been  said  that  this 
power  is  necessary  to  preserve  their  existence.  There  is 
qot  the  least  doubt  but  the  people  will  keep  them  from  losing 
their  existence,  if  they  shall  behave  themselves  in  such  a 
manner  as  will  merit  it. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  thought  it  very  ex- 
traordinary  that  the  gentleman  who  was  last  on  the  flooi 
should  say  that  Congress  could  do  what  they  please  with 
respect  to  elections,  and  be  warranted  by  this  clause.  The 
gentleman  from  Halifax  (Mr.  Davie)  has  put  that  construc- 
tion upon  it  which  reason  and  con>mon  sense  will  put  upon 
it.  Lawyers  will  often  differ  on  a  point  of  law,  but  people 
will  seldom  differ  about  so  very  plain  a  thing  as  this.  The 
clause  enables  Congress  to  alter  such  regulations  as  the 
states  shall  have  made  with  respect  to  elections.  What 
vvould  he  infer  from  this  ?  What  is  it  to  alter  ?  It  is  to 
alter  the  time,  place,  and  manner,  established  by  the  legis- 
latures, if  they  do  not  answer  the  purpose.  Congress  ought 
to  have  power  to  perpetuate  the  government,  and  not  the 
states,  who  might  be  otherwise  inclined.  I  will  ask  the 
gentleman  —  and  I  wish  he  may  give  me  a  satisfactory  an- 
swer— if  the  whole  is  not  in  the  power  of  the  people,  as. 
well  when  the  elections  are  regulated  by  Congress,  as  when 
by  the  states.     Are  not  lK)th  the  agents  of  the  people,  ame- 

Bloodwohth.]  north    CAROLINA.  69 

liable  to  them  ?  Is  there  any  thing  in  this  Constitution  which 

f fives  them  the  power  to  perpetuate  the  sitting  members  ? 
s  there  any  sMch  strange  absurdity?  If  the  legislature  of 
this  state  has  the  power  to  fix  the  time,  place,  and  manner, 
of  holding  elections,  why  not  place  the  same  confidence  in 
the  general  government  ?  The  members  of  the  general  gov- 
ernment, and  those  of  the  state  legislature,  are  both  chosen 
by  the  people.  They  are  both  from  among  the  people,  and  are 
in  the  same  situation.  Those  who  served  in  the  state  legisla- 
ture are  eligible,  and  may  be  sent  to  Congress.  If  the  elec- 
tions be  regulated  in  the  best  manner  in  the  state  government, 
can  it  be  supposed  that  the  same  man  will  lose  all  his  virtue, 
his  character  and  principles,  when  he  goes  into  the  general 
government,  in  order  to  deprive  us  of  our  libert)'  ? 

The  gentleman  from  New  Hanover  seems  to  think  it 
possible  Congress  will  so  far  forget  themselves  as  to  point 
out  such  improper  seasons  of  the  year,  and  such  inconvenient 
places  for  elections,  as  to  defeat  the  privilege  of  the  demo- 
cratic branch  altogether.  He  speaks  of  inconsistency  in  the 
arguments  of  the  gentlemen.  1  wish  he  would  be  consistent 
himself.  If  1  do  not  mistake  the  politics  of  that  gentleman, 
it  is  his  opinion  that  Congress  had  sufficient  power  under 
the  Confederaitioin.  He  has  said,  without  contradiction,  that 
we  should  be  better  without  the  Union  than  with  it ;  that  it 
would  be  better  for  us  to  be  by  ourselves  than  in  the  Union. 
His  antipathy  to  a  general  government,  and  to  the  Union,  is 
evidently  inconsistent  with  his  predilection  for  a  federal 
democratic  branch.  We  should  have  no  democratic  "part  of 
the  govefdrnent  at  all,  under  such  a  government  as  he  would 
recommend.  There  is  no  such  part  in  the  old  Confeder- 
ation. The  body  of  the  people  had  no  agency  in  that  system. 
The  metnbers  of  the  present  general  government  are  selected 
by  the  state  legislatures,  and  have  the  power  of  the  purse, 
and  other  powers,  and  are  not  amenable  to  the  pe^oplc  at  large. 
Although  the  gentleman  may  deny  my  assertions,  yet  this 
argument  of  his  is  inconsistent  with  his  other  assertions  ancl 
doctrines.  It  is  impossible  for  any  man  in  his  senses  to 
think  that  we  can  exist  by  ourselves,  separated  from  our 
sister  states.  Whatever  gentlemen  niay  pretend  to  say  on 
this  point,  it  rrttist  be  a  matter  of  serious  alarm  to  every 
reflecting  mind,  to  be  disunited  from  the  other  states. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH  begged  leave  to  wipe  off  the  asser- 

70  DEBATES.  [GiiLLowAY 

tion  of  the  gentleman ;  that  he  could  not  account  for  anj 
expression  which  he  might  drop  among  a  laughing,  jcK^ose 
people,  but  that  it  was  well  known  he  was  for  giving  power 
to  Congress  to  regulate  the  trade  of  the  United  States;  that 
he  had  said  that  Congress  had  exercised  power  not  given 
them  by  the  Confederation,  and  that  he  was  accurate  in  the 
assertion  ;  that  he  was  a  freeman,  and  was  under* the  control 
of  no  man. 

Mr.  MACLAINE  replied,  that  he  meant  no  aspersions; 
that  he  only  meant  to  point  out  a  fact ;  that  he  had  com- 
mitted mistakes  himself  in  argument,  and  that  he  supposed 
the  gentleman  not  more  infallible  than  other  people. 

JVfr.  J.  TAYLOR  wished  to  know  why  the  states  had 
control  over  the  place  of  electing  senators,  but  not  over  that 
of  choosing  the  representatives. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  the  reason  of  that  reser- 
vation was  to  prevent  Congress  from  altering  the  places  for 
holding  the  legislative  assemblies  in  the  different  states. 

Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY.  Mr.  Chairman,  in  the  be- 
ginning I  found  great  candor  in  the  advocates  of  this  govern- 
ment, but  it  is  not  so  towards  the  last.  I  hope  the  gentleman 
from  Halifax  will  not  take  it  amiss,  if  1  mention  how  he 
brought  the  motion  forward.  They  began  with  dangers. 
As  to  Rhode  Island  being  governed  by  a  faction,  what  has 
that  to  do  with  the  question  before  us  ?  I  ask,  What  have  the 
state  governments  left  for  them,  if  the  general  government 
is  to  be  possessed  of  such  extensive  powers,  without  control 
or  limitation,  without  any  responsibility  to  the  states?  He 
asks.  How  is  it  possible  for  the  members  to  perpetuate  them- 
selves? I  think  I  can  show  how  they  can  do  it.  For  in- 
stance, were  they  to  take  the  government  as  it  now  stands 
organized.  We  send  five  members  to  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives in  the  general  government.  They  will  go,  no 
doubt,  from  or  near  the  seaj)orts.  In  other  states,  also,  those 
near  the  sea  will  have  more  interest,  and  will  go  forward  to 
Congress ;  and  they  can,  without  violating  the  Constitution, 
make  a  law  continuing  themselves,  as  they  have  control  over 
the  place,  time,  and  manner,  of  elections.  This  may  happen ; 
and  where  the  great  principles  of  liberty  are  endangered,  no 
general,  indeterminate,  vague  expression  ought  to  be  suf- 
fered. Shall  we  pass  over  this  article  as  it  is  now?  They 
will  be  able  to  perpetuate  themselves  as  well  as  if  it  had  ex- 
pressly said  so. 

Steele.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  7i 

Mr.  STEELE.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  has  said 
that  the  five  representatives  which  this  state  shall  be  entitled 
to  send  to  the  general  government,  will  go  from  the  sea- 
ishore.  What  reason  has  he  to  say  they  will  go  from  the 
sea-shore?  The  time,  place,  and  manner,  of  holding  elec- 
tions are  to  be  prescribed  by  the  legislatures.  Our  legisla- 
ture is  to  regulate  the  first  election,  at  any  event.  They 
will  regulate  it  as  they  think  proper.  They  may,  and  most 
probably  will,  lay  the  state  off  into  districts.  Who  are  to 
vote  for  them  ?  Every  man  who  has  a  right  to  vote  for  a 
representative  to  our  legislature  will  ever  have  a  right  to 
vote  for  a  representative  to  the  general  government.  Does 
it  not  expressly  provide  that  the  electors  in  «»ach  state  shall 
have  the  qualifications  requisite  for  the  most  numerous  branch 
of  the  state  legislature  ?  Can  they,  without  a  most  manifest 
violation  of  the  Constitution,  alter  the  qualifications  of  the 
electors?  The  power  over  the  manner  of  elections  does  not 
include  that  of  saying  who  shall  vote  : —  the  Constitution  ex- 
pressly says  that  the  qualifications  which  entitle  a  man  to 
vote  for  a  state  representative.  It  is,  then,  clearly  and  in- 
dubitably fixed  and  determined  who  shall  be  the  electors; 
and  the  power  over  the  manner  only  enables  them  to  deter- 
mine how  these  electors  shall  elect  —  whether  by  ballot,  or 
by  vote,  or  by  any  other  way.  Is  it  not  a  maxim  of  univer- 
sal jurisprudence,  of  reason  and  common  sense,  that  an 
instrument  or  deed  of  writing  shall  be  so  construed  as  to  give 
validity  to  all  parts  of  it,  if  it  can  be  done  without  involving 
any  absurdity  ?  By  construing:  it  in  the  plain,  obvious  way 
I  have  mentioned,  all  parts  will  be  valid.  By  the  way,  gen- 
tlemen suggest  the  most  palpable  contradiction,  and  absurd- 
ity will  follow.  To  say  that  they  shall  go  from  the  sea- 
shore, and  be  able  to  perpetuate  themselves,  is  a  most 
extravagant  idea.  Will  the  members  of  Congress  deviate 
from  their  duty  without  any  prospect  of  advantage  to  them- 
selves? What  interest  can  they  have  to  make  the  place  of 
elections  inconvenient  ?  The  judicial  power  of  that  govern- 
ment is  so  well  constructed  as  to  be  a  check.  There  was 
no  check  in  the  old  Confederation.  Their  power  was,  m 
principle  and  theory,  transcendent.  If  the  Congress  make 
laws  inconsistent  with  the  Constitution,  independent  judges 
will  not  uphold  them,  nor  will  the  people  obey  them.  A 
universal    resistance    will   ensue.     In    some    countries,    the 

72  DEBATES  [DAim 

arbitrary  disposition  of  rulers  may  enable  them  to  overturn 
;the  liberties  of  the  people  ;  but  in  a  country  like  this,  where 
every  man  is  his  own  master,  and  where  almost  every  man 
is  a  freeholder,  and  has  the  right  of  election,  the  violations 
of  a  constitution  will  not  be  passively  permitted.  Can  it  be 
supposed  that  in  such  a  country  the  rights  of  suffrage  will  be 
tamely  surrendered  ?  Is  it  to  be  supposed  that  30^000  free 
persons  will  send  the  most  abandoned  wretch  in  the  district 
to  legislate  for  them  in  the  general  legislature  ?  I  ^ould 
rather  think  they  would  choose  men  of  the  most  respectable 

Saturday,  July  26,  1788. 

Mr.  KENNION  in  the  chair.  The  5ih  section  of  the  1st 
article  read. 

Mr.  STEELE  observed,  that  he  had  heard  objections  to 
the  3d  clause  of  this  section,  with  respect  to  the  periodical 
publication  of  the  Journals,  the  entering  the  yeas  and  mays 
on  them,  and  the  suppression  of  such  parts  as  required 
secrecy  —  that  he  had  no  otyection  himself,  for  that  he 
thought  the  necessity  of  publishing  their  transactions  was  an 
excellent  check,  and  that  every  principle  of  prudence  and 
good  policy  pointed  out  the  necessity  of  not  publishing  such 
transactions  as  related  to  military  arrangements  and  war  — 
that  this  provision  was  exactly  similar  to  that  which  was  in 
the  old  Confederation. 

Mr.  GRAHAM  wished  to  hear  an  explanation  of  the 
words  "  from  time  to  time,"  whether  it  was  a  short  or  a  long 
time,  or  how  often  they  should  be  obliged  to  publish  their 

Mr.  DAVIE  answered,  that  they  would  be  probably  pub- 
lished after  the  rising  of  Congress,  every  year  —  that  if  they 
sat  two  or  three  times,  or  oftener,  in  the  year,  ihey  might  be 
published  every  time  they  rose  —  that  there  could  be  no 
doubt  of  their  publishing  them  as  often  as  it  would  be  con- 
venient and  proper,  and  that  they  would  conceal  nothing  but 
what  11  would  be  unsafe  to  publish.  He  further  observed,  that 
some  states  had  proposed  an  amendment,  that  they  should 
be  published  annually ;  but  he  thought  it  very  safe  and 
proper  as  it  stood —  that  it  was  the  sense  of  the  Convention 
that  they  should  be  published  at  the  end  of  every  session. 
The  gentleman  from  Salisbury  had  said,  that  in  this  particu- 


lar  it  resembled  the  old  Confederation.  Other  gentlemen 
have  said  there  is  no  similarity  at  all.  He  therefore  wished 
^he  difference  to  be  stated. 

Mr.  IREDELL  remarked,  that  the  provision  in  the  clause 
under  consideration  was  similar  in  meaning  and  substance  to 
that  in  the  Confederation  —  that  in  time  of  war  it  was  ab- 
■Holutely  necessary  to  conceal  the  operations  of  government; 
otherwise  no  attack  on  an  enemy  could  be  premeditated 
with  success,  for  the  enemy  could  discover  our  plans  soon 
enough  to  defeat  them  —  that  it  was  no  less  imprudent  to 
divulge  our  negotiations  with  foreign  powers,  and  the  most 
salutary  schemes  might  be  prevented  by  imprudently  pro- 
mulgating all  the  transactions  of  the  government  indiscrimi- 

Mr.  J.  GALLOWAY  wished  to  obviate  what  gentlemen 
had  said  with  regard  to  the  similarity  of  the  old  Confedera- 
tion to  the  new  system,  with  respect  to  the  publication  of 
their  proceedings.  He  remarked,  that,  at  the  desire  of  orte 
member  from  any  state,  the  yeas  and  nays  were  to  be  put 
on  the  Journals,  and  published  by  ihe  Confederation  ;  where- 
as, by  this  system,  the  concurrence  of  one  fifth  was 

To  this  it  was  answered,  that  the  alteration  was  made  be- 
<:au8e  experience  held  showed,  when  any  two  members  c*ould 
require  the  yeas  and  nays,  they  were  taken  on  many  trifling 
occasions;  and  there  was  no  doubt  one  fifth  would  require 
them  on  every  occasion  of  importance. 

The  6th  section  read  without  any  observations. 

1st  clause  of  the  7th  section  likewise  read  without  any 

2d  clause  read. 

Mr.   IREDELL.     Mr.   Chairman,  this   is  a  novelty  in 
the   Constitution,  and  is  a  regulation  of  considerable   im 
poriance.     Permit  me  to  state  the  reasons  for  which  I  im- 
agine this  regulation  was  made.     They  are  such  as,  in  my 
opinion,  fuMy  justify  it. 

One  great  alteration  proposed  by  the  Constitution  —  and 
which  is  a  capital  improvement- on  the  Articles  of  Confed- 
eratJOfi — is,  that  the  executive,  legislative,  and  Judicial 
powers  should  be  separate  and  distinct.  The  best  writers, 
and  ^11  the  most  enlightened  part  of  mankind,  agree  that 
it  m  esseatial  to  the  preservation  of  liberty,  that  such  dis* 

VOL.  IV.  10  7 

74  DEBATES.  [Iredeu 

tinction  and  separation  of  powers  should  be  made.  But 
this  distinction  would  have  very  little  efiicacy  if  each  power 
had  no  means  to  defend  itself  against  the  encroachment  of 
the  others. 

The  British  constitution,  the  theory  of  which  is  much  ad- 
mired, but  which,  however,  is  in  fact  liable  to  many  objec 
tions,  has  divided  the  government  into  three  branches.  The 
king,  who  is  hereditary,  forms  one  branch,  the  Lords  and 
Commons  the  two  others ;  and  no  bill  passes  into  a  law 
without  the  king's  consent.  This  is  a  great  constitutional 
support  of  his  authority.  By  the  proposed  Constitution,  the 
President  is  of  a  very  different  nature  from  a  monarch.  He 
is  to  be  chosen  by  electors  appointed  by  the  people ;  to  be 
taken  from  among  the  people ;  to  hold  his  office  only  for  the 
short  period  of  four  years ;  and  to  be  personally  responsible 
for  any  abuse  of  the  great  trust  reposed  in  him. 

In  a  republican  government,  it  would  be  extremely  dan- 
gerous to  place  it  in  the  power  of  one  man  to  put  an  abso- 
lute negative  on  a  bill  proposed  by  two  houses,  one  of  which 
represented  the  people,  and  the  other  the  states  of  America. 
It  therefore  became  an  object  of  consideration,  how  the  ex- 
ecutive could  defend  itself  without  being  a  competent  part 
of  the  legislature.  This  difficulty  was  happily  remedied  by 
the  clause  now  under  our  consideration.  The  executive  is 
not  entirely  at  the  mercy  of  the  legislature  ;  nor  is  it  put  in 
the  power  of  the  .executive  entirely  to  defeat  the  acts  ol 
those  two  important  branches.  As  it  is  provided  in  this 
clause,  if  a  bare  majority  of  both  houses  should  pass  a  bill 
which  the  President  thought  injurious  to  his  country,  it  is 
in  his  power  —  to  do  what  ?  Not  to  say,  in  an  arbitrary, 
haughty  manner,  that  he  does  not  approve  of  it ; —  but,  if  he 
thinks  It  a  bad  bill,  respectfully  to  offer  his  reasons  to  both 
houses ;  by  whom,  in  that  case,  it  is  to  be  reconsidered,  and 
nut  to  become  a  law  unless  two  thirds  of  both  houses  shall 
concur;  which  they  still  may,  notwithstanding  the  Presi- 
dent's objection.  It  cannot  be  presumed  that  he  would 
venture  to  oppose  a  bill,  under  such  circumstances,  without 
very  strong  reasons.  Unless  he  was  sure  of  a  powerful  sup- 
port in  the  legislature,  his  opposition  would  be  of  no  effect ; 
and  as  his  reasons  are  to  be  put  on  record,  his  fame  is  com- 
mitted both  to  the  present  times  and  to  posterity. 

The  exercise  of  this  power,  in  a  time  of  violent  factions, 

Spencer.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  7i* 

might  l3e  possibly  hazardous  to  himself;  but  he  can  have;  no 
ill  motive  to  exert  himself  in  the  face  of  a  violent  opposition. 
Rt^gard  to  his  duty  alone  could  induce  him  to  oppose,  when 
it  was  probable  two  thirds  would  at  all  events  overrule  him. 
This  power  may  be  usefully  exercised,  even  when  no  ill 
intention  prevails  in  the  legislature.  It  might  frequently 
happen  that,  where  a  bare  majority  had  carried  a  pernicious 
bill,  if  there  was  an  authority  to  suspend  it,  upon  a  cool 
statement  of  reasons,  many  of  that  majority,  on  a  recon- 
sideration, might  be  convinced,  and  vote  differently.  1 
therefore  think  the  method  proposed  is  a  happy  medium  be- 
tween the  possession  of  an  absolute  negative,  and  the  ex- 
ecutive having  no  control  whatever  on  acts  of  legislation ; 
and  at  the  same  time  that  it  serves  to  protect  the  executive 
from  ill  designs  in  the  legislature,  it  may  also  answer  the 
purposes  of  preventing  many  laws  passing  which  would  be 
immediately  injurious  to  the  people  at  large.  It  is  a  strong 
guard  against  abuses  in  all,  that  the  President's  reasons  are 
to  be  entered  at  large  on  the  Journals,  and,  if  the  bill 
passes  notwithstanding,  that  the  yeas  and  nays  are  also 
to  be  entered.  The  public,  therefore,  can  judge  fairly  be- 
tween them. 

The  1st  clause  of  the  8ih  section  read. 

Mr.  SPENCER.     Mr.  Chairman,  I  conceive  this  powei 
to  be  too  extensive,  as  it  embraces  all  possible  powers  of 
taxation,  and  gives  up  to  Congress  every  possible  article  of 
taxation  that  can  ever  happen.     By  means  of  this,  there  will 
be  no  way  for  the  states  of  receiving  or  collecting  taxes  at 
all,  but  what  may  interfere  with  the  collections  of  Congress. 
Every  power  is  given  over  our  money  to  those  over  whom 
we  have  no  immediate  control.     I  would  ^ive  them  powers 
to  support  the  goverament,  but  would  not  agree  to  annihilate 
the  state  governments  in  an  article  which  is  most  essential 
to  their  existence.     1  would  give  them  power  of  laying  im- 
posts ;  and  I  would  give  them  power  to  lay  and  collect  ex- 
cises.    I  confess  that  this  is  a  kind  of  tax  so  odious  to  a  free 
people,  that  I  should  with  great   reluctance   agree    to  its 
exercise ;  but  it  is  obvious  that,  unless  such  excises  were 
admitted,  the  public  burden  will  be  all  borne  by  those  parts 
of  the  community  who  do  not  manufacture  for  themselves. 
So  manifest  an  inequality  would  justify  a  recurrence  to  this 
species  of  taxes. 

7b  DEBATES.  [Spencer 

How  are  direct  taxes  to  be  laid  ?  By  a  poll  tax,  assess- 
ments on  land  or  other  property  ?  Inconvehience  and 
oppression  will  arise  from  any  of  them.  I  would  not  be 
understood  thalt ,  I  would  not  wish  to  have  ah  efficient 
government  for  the  United  States.  1  am  sensible  that  Ikws 
operating  on  individuals  cannot' be  carried  on  against  states; 
because,  if  they  do  not  comply  with  the  general  la[ws  of  the 
Union,  there  is  no  way  to  compel  a  compliance  but  force. 
There  must  be  an  army  to  compel  them.  Some  states  may 
have  some  excuse  for  non-compliance.  Others  will  feign 
excuses.  Several  states  may  perhaps  be  in  the  same  pre- 
dicament. If  force  be  used  to  compel  them,  they  will 
probably  call  for  foreign  aid ;  and  the  very  means  of  defetice 
will  operate  to  the  dissolution  of  the  system,  and  to  the 
destruction  of  the  states.  I  would  not,  therefore,  deny  'that 
Congress  ought  to  have  the  power  of  taking  out  of  the 
pockets  of  the  individuals  at  large,  if  the  states  fail  to  pciy 
those  taxes  in  a  convenient  time.  If  requisitions  were  to  be 
made  on  the  several  states,  proportionate  to  their  abilities, 
the  several  state  legislatures,  'knowing  the  circutlistcinces  of 
their  constituents,  and  that  they  would  ultimately  be  cdra- 
pelled  to  pay,  would  lay  the  tax  in  a  convenient  tnanner, 
and  would  be  able  to  pay  their  quotas  at  the  end  of  the  year. 
They  are  better  acquainted  with  the  mode  in  which  taxes 
tvdii  be  raised,  than  the  general  government  can  possibly  be. 

It  may  happen,  for  instance,  that  if  ready  money  cannot 
be  immediately  received  from  the  pockets  of  individuals  for 
their  taxes,  their  estates,  consisting  of  lands,  negroes,  stock, 
and  furniture,  most  l)e  set  up  and  sold  at  vendue.  We  can 
easfily  see,  from  the  great  scarcity  of  money  at  this  day,  that 
great  distresses  must  happen.  There  is  tio  hard  money  in 
the  country.  It  most  come  from  other  parts  of  the  world. 
Such  property  would  sell  for  one  tenth  part  of  its  vdlue. 
Such  a  mode  as  this  would,  in  a  few  years,  deprive  the 
people  of  their  estates.  But,  on  the  contrary,  if  articles 
proper  for  exportation  were  either  specifically  taken  for  their 
taxes  imtncdiately  by  the  state  legislature,  or  if  the  collection 
should  be  deferred  till  they  had  disposed  of  such  articles,  no 
oppression  or  inconvenience  woula  happen.  There  is  no 
person  so  podr  but  who  can  raise  something  to  dispose  of 
For  a  great  part  of  the  United  States,  those  articles  which 
are  proper  for  exportation  would  answer  the  puroose.     1 


Would'  have  a  t^  laid  on  estates  where  suph  articles  could 
UQt  b^  had,  aiid  such  a  tax.  to  be  by  iostalcoents  for  t>vo  or 
naore  years. 

I  would  admit,  if  the  quotas  were  not  punctually  paid  at 
the    end  of  the  time,  that  Congress   might   collect   taxes, 
tjecause  this  povyer  is  absolutely  necessary  for  the  support 
of  the  general  government.     But  I  would  not  give  it  in  the 
first  instance ;  for  nothing  would  be  more  oppressive,  as  in  a 
short  time   people  would  be  compelled  to  part  with  their 
property.     In  the  other  case,  they  would  part  with  none  but 
in   such  a  manner  as  to  encourage  their  industry.     On  the 
other  hand,  if  requisitions,  ia  cases  of  emergency,  wen 
proposed  to  the  state  assemblies,  it  would  l)e  a  measure  oi 
c^ooveuience  to  the  people,  and  would  be  a  means  of  keeping* 
up  the  importance  of  the  state  legislatures,  and  would  con- 
ciliate their  affections ;  and  their  knowledge  of  the  ultimate 
right  of  Congress  to  collect   taxes  would   stimulate   theii 
exertions  to  raise  money.     But  if  the  power  of  taxation  be 
given  in  the  first  instance  to  Congress,  the  state  legislatures. 
will  be  liable  to  be  counteracted  by  the  general  government 
in  all  their  operations.     These  arc  my  reasons  for  objecting 
to  this  article. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.     Mr.  Chairman,  this   clause  is  ob- 
jected to;  and  it  is  proposed  to  alter  it  in  such  a  manner, 
tihat  the  general  government  shall  not  have  power  to  la} 
taxes  in  the  first  instance,  but  shall  apply  to  the  states,  and, 
in  case  of  reftisal,  that  direct  taxation  shall  take  place  ;  that 
is  to  say,  that  the  general  government  should  pass  an  act  to 
levy  money  on  the  United  States,  and  if  the  states  did  not, 
within  a  limited  time,  pay  their  respective  proportions,  the 
officers  of  the  United  States  should  proceed  to  levy  money 
on  th^  inhabitants  of  the  different  states.     The  question  has 
been  agitated  by  the  conventions  in  different  states,  and 
some  very  respectable  states  have  proposed  that  there  should 
be  an  amendment,  in  the  manner  which  the  worthy  member 
last  up  has  proposed.     But,  sir,  although  I  pay  very  great 
respect  to  the  opinions  and  decisions  of  the  gentlemen  who 
composed  those  conventions,  and  although  they  were  wise 
in  many  instances,  I  cannot  concur  with  them  in  this  par- 
ticular.    It  appears  to  me  that  it  will  be  attended  with  many 
inconveniences.     It  seems  to  me  probable  that  the  money 
arisiAg  from  duties  and  excises  will  be,  in  general,  sufficient 

78  DEBATES.  [Johnston 

to  answer  all  the  ordinary  purposes  of  government ;  but  in 
cases  of  emergency,  it  will  be  necessary  to  lay  direct  taxes 
In  cases  of  emergency,  it  will  be  necessary  that  these  taxei 
should  be  a  responsible  and  established  fund  to  support  the 
credit  of  the  United  States;  for  it  cannot  be  supposed  that, 
from  the  ordinary  sources  of  revenue,  money  can  be  brought 
into  our  treasury  in  such  a  manner  as  to  answer  pressing 
dangers;  nor  can  it  be  supposed  that  our  credit  will  enable 
us  to  procure  any  loans,  if  our  government  is  limited  in  the 
means  of  procuring  money.  But,  if  the  government  have  it 
in  their  power  to  lay  those  taxes,  it  will  give  them  credit  tc 
borrow  money  on  that  security,  and  for  that  reason  it  will 
not  be  necessary  to  lay  so  heavy  a  tax ;  for,  if  the  tax  ij 
sufficiently  productive  to  pay  the  interest,  money  may  always 
be  had  in  consequence  ot  that  security.  If  the  state  legis- 
latures must  be  applied  to,  they  must  lay  a  tax  for  the  ful 
sum  wanting.  This  will  be  much  more  oppressive  than  £ 
tax  laid  by  Congress  ;  for  1  presume  that  no  state  legislature 
will  have  as  much  credit  individually  as  the  United  States 
conjointly ;  therefore,  viewing  it  in  this  light,  a  tax  laid  bj 
Conojress  will  be  much  easier  than  a  tax  laid  by  the  states 
Another  inconvenience  which  will  attend  this  proposec 
amendment  is,  that  these  emergencies  may  happen  a  con- 
siderable time  before  the  meeting  of  some  state  legislatures 
and  previous  to  their  meeting,  the  schemes  of  the  governniem 
may  be  defeated  by  this  delay.  A  considerable  time  wil 
elapse  before  the  state  can  lay  the  tax,  and  a  considerable 
time  before  it  be  collected ;  and  perhaps  it  cannot  be  col- 
lected at  all.  One  reason  which  the  worthy  member  has 
offered  in  favor  of  the  amendment  was,  that  the  genera 
legislature  cannot  lay  a  tax  without  interfering  with  the 
taxation  of  the  state  legislature.  It  may  happen  that  the 
taxes  of  both  may  be  laid  on  the  same  article ;  but  I  hope 
and  believe  that  the  taxes  to  be  laid  on  by  the  genera 
legislature  will  be  so  very  light  that  it  will  be  no  incon- 
venience to  the  people  to  pay  them ;  and  if  you  attend  tc 
the  probable  amount  of  the  imjx)st,  you  must  conclude  thai 
the  small  addition  to  the  taxes  will  not  make  them  so  high 
as  they  are  at  this  time.  Another  reason  offered  by  the 
worthy  member  in  support  of  the  amendment  is,  that  the 
state  legislature  may  direct  taxes  to  be  paid  in  specific 
articles.     We  had  full  experience  of  this  in  the  late  wai 


I  call  on  the  house  to  say,  whether  it  was  not  th(,  most 
oppressive  and  least  productive  tax  ever  known  in  the  state. 
Many  articles  were  lost,  and  many  could  not  be  disposed  of 
so  as  to  be  of  any  service  to  the  people.  Most  articles  are 
perishable,  and  therefore  cannot  answer.  Others  are  diffi- 
cult to  transport,  expensive  to  keep,  and  very  difficult  to 
dispose  of.  A  tax  payable  in  tobacco  would  answer  very 
well  in  some  parts  of  the  country,  and  perhaps  would  be 
more  productive  than  any  other  ;  yet  we  feel  that  great  losses 
have  been  sustained  by  the  public  on  this  article.  A  tax 
payable  in  any  kind  of  grain  would  answer  very  little 
purpose,  grain  being  perishable.  A  tax  payable  in  pitch  and 
tar  would  not  answer.  A  mode  of  this  kind  would  not  be 
at  all  eligible  in  this  state  :  the  great  loss  on  the  specific 
articles,  and  inconvenience  in  disposing  of  them,  would  render 
them  productive  of  very  little. 

He  says  that  this  would  be  a  means  of  keeping  up  the 
importance  of  the  state  legislatures.     I  am  afraid  it  would 
have  a  different  effect.     If  requisitions  should  not   be  com- 
plied with  at  the  time  fixed,  the  officers  of  Congress  would 
then  immediately  proceed  to  make  their  collections.     We 
know  that  several  causes  would  inevitably  produce  a  failure. 
The  states  would  not,  or  could  not,  comply.     In  that  case, 
the   state   legislature  would    be   disgraced.      After   having 
done  every  thing  for  the  support  of  their  credit  and  impor- 
tance without  success,  would  they  not  be  degraded  in  the 
ejes  of  the  United  States?    Would  it  not  cause  heart-burn- 
ings between  particular  states  and  the  United  States?    The 
inhabitants  would  oppose  the  tax-gatherers.     They  would 
say,  "We  are  taxed   by  our  own  state  legislature  for  the 
proportionate  quota  of  our  state ;  we  will  not  pay  you  also." 
This   would    produce    insurrections   and    confusion    in    the 
country.     These  are  the  reasons  which  induce  me  to  sup- 
port this  clause.     It  is  perhaps  particularly  favorable  to  this 
stite.     We  are  not  an  importing  country:  very  little  is  here 
raised   by  imposts.     Other   states,   who  have  adopted  the 
Constitution,  im|)ort  for  us.    Massachusetts,  South  Carolina, 
Maryland,  and  Virginia,  are  great  importing  states.     From 
them  we  procure  foreign  goods,  and  by  that  means  they  are 
generally  benefited ;    for  it  is  agreed  upon  by  all  writers, 
ihif  the  consumer  pays  the  impost. 

Do  we  not^  then,  pay  a  tax  in  support  of  theii  revenue  in 

80  DEBATES.  ISpbncu 

|iroportioD  to  our  consumption  of  foreign  articles?  Do  ^e 
not  know  that  this,  in  our  present  situation,  is  without  any 
benefit  to  us  ?  Do  we  not  pay  a  second  duty  when  these 
goods  are  imported  into  this  state  ?  We  now  pay  double  du- 
ties. It  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  the  mercliant  will  pay  the 
duty  without  wishing  to  get  interest  and  profit  on  the  money 
he  lays  out.  It  is  not  to  be  presumed  that  he  will  not  add 
to  the  price  a  sum  sufificient  to  indemnify  himself  for  the 
inconvenience  of  parting  with  the  money  he  pays  as  a  duty. 
We  therefore  now  pay  a  much  higher  price  foir  European 
manufactures  than  the  people  do  in  the  great  importing 
states.  Is  it  not  laying  heavy  burdens  on  the  people  of  this 
country,  not  only  to  compel  them  to  pay  duties  for  the  sup 
port  of  the  importing  states,  but  to  pay  a  second  duty  on  thu 
importation  into  this  state  by  our  own  merchants  ?  By  adop» 
tion,  we  shall  participate  in  the  amount  of  the  imposts.  Upon  • 
the  whole,  I  hope  this  article  will  meet  with  the  appro- 
bation of  this  committee,  when  they  consider  the  necessit}' 
of  supporting  the  general  government,  and  the  many  im^on- 
veniences,  and  probable  if  not  certain  inefficacy,  of  requi 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  cannot,  notwithstand- 
ing what  the  gentleman  has  advanced,  agree  to  this  clause 
unconditionally.  The  most  certain  criterion  of  happiness 
that  any  people  can  have,  is  to  be  taxed  by  their  own  imme- 
diate representatives,  —  by  those  representatives  who  in- 
termix with  them,  and  know  their  circumstances,  —  not  by 
those  who  cannot  know  their  situation.  Our  federal  repre- 
sentatives cannot  sufficiently  know  our  situation  and  cir- 
cumstances. The  worthy  gentleman  said  that  it  would  be 
necessary  for  the  general  government  to  have  the  power 
of  laying  taxes,  in  order  to  have  credit  to  borrow  money. 
But  1  cannot  think,  however  plausible  it  may  appear,  that 
his  argument  is  conclusive.  If  such  emergency  happens  as 
will  render  it  necessary  for  them  to  borrow  money,  it  will 
be  necessary  for  them  to  borrow  before  they  proceed  to  lay 
the  tax.  I  conceive  the  government  will  have  credit  suffi- 
cient to  borrow  money  in  the  one  case  as  well  as  the  other. 
If  requisitions  be  punctually  complied  with,  no  doubt  they 
can  borrow;  and  if  not  punctually  complied  with.  Congress 
can  ultimately  lay  the  tax. 

I  wish  to  have  the  most  easy  way  for  the  people  to  pay 

fipAiGHT.l  NORTH   CAROLINA.  81 

ihcir  taxes.  The  state  legislature  will  know  every  method 
and  expedient  by  which  the  people  can  pay,  and  they  will 
recur  to  the  most  convenient.  This  will  he  agreeable  to  the 
people,  and  will  not  create  insurrections  and  dissensions  in 
the  country.  The  taxes  might  be  laid  on  the  most  produc- 
tive articles:  I  wish  not,  for  my  part,  to  lay  them  on  per- 
ishable articles.  There  are  a  number  of  other  articles 
besides  those  which  the  worthy  gentleman  enumerated. 
There  are,  besides  tobacco,  hemp,  indigo,  and  cotton.  In 
the  Northern  States,  where  they  have  manufactures,  a  con- 
trary system  from  ours  would  be  necessary.  There  the 
principal  attention  is  paid  to  the  giving  their  children  trades 
They  have  few  articles  for  exportation.  By  raising  the  taN 
in  this  manner,  it  will  introduce  such  a  spirit  of  industry  as 
cannot  fail  of  producing  happy  consequences  to  posterity. 
He  objected  to  the  mode  of  paying  taxes  in  specific  articles 
May  it  not  be  supposed  that  we  shall  gain  something  b} 
experience,  and  avoid  those  schemes  and  methods  which 
shall  be  found  inconvenient  and  disadvantageous?  If  ex- 
penses should  be  incurred  in  keeping  and  disposing  of  such 
articles,  could  not  those  expenses  be  reimburst^d  by  a  judi- 
cious sale  ?  Cannot  the  legislature  be  circumspect  as  to  the 
choice  and  qualities  of  the  objects  to  be  selected  for  raising 
the  taxes  due  to  the  Continental  treasury?  The  worthy 
gentleman  has  mentioned  that,  if  the  people  should  not 
comply  to  raise  the  taxes  in  this  way,  then,  if  they  were  sub- 
ject to  the  law  of  Congress,  it  would  throw  them  into  con- 
fusion. I  would  ask  every  one  here,  if  there  be  not  more 
reason  to  induce  us  to  believe  that  they  would  be  thrown 
into  confusion,  in  case  the  power  of  Congress  was  exercised 
by  Congress  in  the  first  instance,  than  in  the  other  case. 
After  having  so  long  a  time  to  raise  the  taxes,  it  appears  to 
me  then^  could  be  no  kind  of  doubt  of  a  punctual  com- 
pliance. The  rio:ht  of  Congress  to  lay  taxes  ultimately,  in 
case  of  non-compliance  with  requisitions,  would  operate  as  a 
penalty,  and  would  stimulate  the  states  to  discharge  their 
quotas  faithfully.  Between  these  two  modes  there  is  an 
immense  difference.  The  one  will  produce  the  happiness, 
ease,  and  prosperity  of  the  people ;  the  other  will  destroy 
them,  and  produce  insurrections. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT.     Mr.  Chairman,  it  was  thought  abso- 
lutely necessary  for  the  support  of  the  general  government 

VOL.    IV.  11 

K2  DEBATES.  ISfkngbb. 

10  give  it  power  to  raise  taxes.  Government  cannot  exist 
without  certain  and  adequate  funds.  Requisitions  cannot 
be  depended  upon*  For  my  part,  I  think  it  indifferent 
whether  I  pay  the  tax  to  the  officers  of  the  continent  or  to 
those  of  the  state.  I  would  prefer  paying  to  the  Continental 
officers,  because  it  will  be  less  expensive. 

The  gentleman  last  up  has  objected  to  the  propriety  of 
the  tax  being  laid  by  Congress,  because  they  could  not 
know  the  circumstances  of  the  people.  The  state  legis- 
lature will  have  no  source  or  opportunity  of  information 
which  the  members  of  the  general  government  may  not 
have.  They  can  avail  themselves  of  the  experience  of  the 
state  legislature.  The  gentleman  acknowledges  the  ineffi- 
cacy  of  requisitions,  and  yet  recommends  them.  He  has 
allowed  that  laws  cannot  operate  upon  political  bodies  with- 
out the  agency  of  force.  His  expedient  of  applying  to  the 
states  in  the  first  instance  will  be  productive  of  delay,  and 
will  certainly  terminate  in  a  disappointment  to  Congress. 
But  the  gentleman  has  said  that  we  had  no  hard  money,  and 
that  the  taxes  might  be  paid  in  specific  articles.  It  is  well 
known  that  if  taxes  are  not  raised  in  medium,  the  state 
loses  by  it.  If  the  government  wishes  to  raise  one  thousand 
pounds,  they  must  calculate  on  a  disappointment  by  specific 
articles,  and  will  therefore  impose  taxes  more  in  proportion 
to  the  expected  disappointment.  An  individual  can  sell  his 
commodities  much  better  than  the  public  at  large.  A  tax 
payable  in  any  produce  would  be  less  productive,  and  more 
oppressive  to  the  people,  as  it  would  enhance  the  public 
burdens  by  its  inefficiency.  As  to  abuses  by  the  Continental 
officers,  I  apprehend  the  state  officers  will  more  probably 
commit  abuses  than  they.  Their  conduct  will  be  more 
narrowly  watched,  and  misconduct  more  severely  punished. 
I'hey  will  be  therefore  more  cautious. 

Mr.  SPENCER,  in  answer  to  Mr.  Spaight,  observed, 
that,  in  case  of  war,  he  was  not  opposed  to  this  article,  be- 
cause, if  the  states  refused  to  comply  with  requisitions,  there 
was  no  way  to  compel  them  but  military  coercion,  which 
would  induce  refractory  states  to  call  for  foreign  aid,  which 
might  terminate  in  the  dismemberment  of  the  empire.  But 
he  said  that  he  would  not  give  the  power  of  direct  taxation 
to  Congress  in  the  first  instance,  as  he  thought  the  states 
would  lay  the  taxes  in  a  less  oppressive  manner. 


Mr.  WHITMILL  HILL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  subjec- 
now  before  us  is  of  the  highest  importance.  The  object  of 
all  government  is  the  protection,  security,  and  happiness  of 
the  people.  To  produce  this  end,  government  must  be  pos- 
sessed of  the  necessarv  means. 

Every  government  must  be  empowered  to  raise  a  suffi- 
cient rerenue  ;  but  I  believe  it  will  be  allowed,  on  all  hands, 
that  Congress  has  been  hitherto  altogether  destitute  of  that 
power  so  essential  to  every  government.  I  believe,  also, 
that  it  is  generally  wished  that  Congress  should  be  possessed 
of  power  to  raise  such  sums  as  are  requisite  for  the  support 
of  the  Union,  though  gentlemen  may  differ  with  regard  to 
the  mode  of  raising  them. 

Our  past  experience  shows  us  that  it  is  in  vain  to  expect 
any  possible  efficacy  from  requisitions.  Gentlemen, recom- 
mend these,  as  if  their  inutility  had  not  l>een  experienced. 
But  do  we  not  all  know  what  effects  they  have  produced? 
Is  it  not  to  them  that  we  must  impute  the  loss  of  our  credit 
and  respectability  ?  It  is  necessary,  therefore,  that  govern- 
ment have  recourse  to  some  other  mode  of  raising  a  revenue. 
Had,  indeed,  every  state  complied  with  requisitions,  the  old 
Confederation  would  not  have  been  complained  of;  but  as 
the  several  states  have  already  discovered  such  repugnancy 
to  comply  with  federal  engagements,  it  must  appear  abso- 
lutely necessary  to  free  the  general  government  from  such  a 
state  of  dependence. 

The  debility  of  the  old  system,  and  the  necessity  ot  sub- 
stituting another  in  its  room,  are  the  causes  of  calling  this 

I  concygive,  sir,  that  the  power  given  by  that  clause  is  ab- 
solutely nA^essary  to  the  existence  of  the  government.  Cien- 
tlemen  say  that  we  are  in  such  a  situation  that  we  cannot 
pay  taxes.  This,  sir,  is  not  a  fair  representation,  in  my 
opinion.  The  honest  people  of  this  country  acknowledge 
themselves  sufficiently  able  and  willing  to  pay  them.  .  Were 
it  a  private  contract,  they  would  find  means  to  pay  them. 
The  honest  part  of  the  community  complain  of  the  acts  of 
the  legislature.  They  complain  that  the  legislature  makes 
laws,  not  to  suit  their  constituents,  but  themselves.  The 
legislature,  sir,  never  means  to  pay  a  just  debt,  as  their  con- 
stituents wish  to  do.  Witness  the  laws  made  in  this  coun- 
try.    I  will,  however,  be  bold  enough  to  say,  that  it  is  the 

84  DEBATES.  [Hill. 

wish  of  the  honest  people  to  pay  those  taxes  which  are 
necessary  for  the  support  of  the  government.  We  have  for 
a  long  time  waited,  in  hope  that  our  legislature  would  point 
out  the  manner  of  supporting  the  general  government,  and 
relieving  us  from  our  present  ineligible  situation.  Every 
body  was  convinced  of  the  necessity  of  this ;  but  how  is  it 
to  be  done?  The  legislature  have  pointed  out  a  mode  — 
their  old,  favorite  mode  —  they  have  made  paper  money  ; 
purchased  tobacco  at  an  extravagant  price,  and  sold  it  at 
a  considerable  loss ;  they  have  received  about  a  dollar  in  the 
pound.  Have  we  any  ground  to  hope  that  we  shall  be  in  a 
better  situation  ? 

Shall  we  be  bettered  by  the  alternative  proposed  by  gen 
tlemen  —  by  levying  taxes  in  specific  articles  ?  How  will 
you  dispose  of  them  ?  Where  is  the  merchant  to  buy  them: 
Your  business  will  be  put  into  the  hands  of  a  commissioner 
who,  having  no  business  of  his  own,  will  grasp  at  it  eagerly, 
and  he,  no  doubt,  will  manxige  it.  But  if  the  payment  of 
the  tax  be  left  to  the  people,  —  if  individuals  are  told  thai 
they  must  pay  such  a  certain  proportion  of  their  income  to 
support  the  general  government,  —  then  each  will  consider  il 
as  a  debt ;  he  will  exert  his  ingenuity  and  industry  to  raise 
it;  he  will  use  no  agent,  but  depend  on  himself.  By  these 
means  the  money  will  certainly  be  collected.  I  will  pledge 
myself  for  its  certainty.  As  the  legislature  has  never  here 
tofore  called  upon  the  people,  let  the  general  government 
apply  to  individuals  :  it  cannot  depend  upon  states.  If  the 
people  have  articles,  they  can  receive  money  for  them 
Money  is  said  to  be  scarce ;  but,  sir,  it  is  the  want  of  in- 
dustry which  is  the  source  of  our  indigence  and  difficulties. 
If  people  would  be  but  active,  and  exert  every  p©wer,  they 
might  certainly  pay,  and  be  in  easy  circumstances ;  and  the 
people  are  disposed  to  do  so ;  —  I  mean  the  good  part  of 
the  community,  which,  I  trust,  is  the  greater  part  of  it. 

Were  the  money  to  be  paid  into  our  treasury  first,  instead 
of  recommitting  it  to  the  Continental  treasury,  we  should 
apply  it  to  discharge  our  own  pressing  demands;  by  which 
means,  a  very  small  proportion  of  it  would  be  paid  to  Con- 
gress. And  if  the  tax  were  to  be  laid  and  collected  by  the 
several  slates,  what  would  be  the  consequence  ?  Congress 
must  depend  upon  twelve  funds  for  its  support.  The  gen- 
eral government  must  depend  on  the  contingency  of  sue- 

Bill.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  85 

ceeding  in  twelve  different  applications  to  twelve  different 
bodies.  What  a  slender  and  precarious  dependence  woula 
this  be  !  The  states,  when  called  upon  to  pay  these  demands 
of  Congress,  would  fail;  they  would  pay  every  other  de- 
mand before  those  of  Congress.  They  have  hitherto  done 
it.  Is  not  this  a  true  statement  of  facts  ?  How  is  it  with 
the  Continental  treasury.^  The  true  answer  to  this  question 
must  hurt  every  friend  to  his  country. 

I  came  in  late  ;  but  I  believe  that  a  gentleman  (Governor 
Johnston)  said,  that  if  the  states  should  refuse  to  pay  requi- 
sitions, and  the  Continental  officers  were  sent  to  collect,  the 
states  ^'ould  be  degraded,  and  the  people  discontented.  I 
believe  this  would  be  the  case.  The  states,  by  acting  dis- 
honestly, would  appear  in  the  most  odious  light ;  and  the 
people  would  be  irritated  at  such  an  application,  after  a  re- 
jection by  their  own  legislature.  But  if  the  taxes  were  to 
be  raised  of  individuals,  1  believe  they  could,  without  any 
difficulty,  be  paid  in  due  time. 

But,  sir,  the  United  States  wish  to  be  established  and 
known  among  other  nations.  This  will  be  a  matter  of  great 
utility  to  them.  We  might  then  form  advantageous  connec- 
tions. When  it  is  once  known  among  foreign  nations  that 
our  general  government  and  our  finances  are  upon  a  respect- 
able footing,  should  emergencies  happen,  we  can  borrow 
money  of  them  without  any  disadvantage.  The  lender 
would  be  sure  of  being  reimbursed  in  time.  This  matter 
is  of  the  highest  consequence  to  the  United  States.  Loans 
must  be  recurred  to  sometimes.  In  case  of  war  they  would 
be  necessary.  All  nations  borrow  money  on  pressing  oc- 

The  gentleman  who  was  last  up  mentioned  many  specnic 
articles  which  could  be  paid  by  the  people  in  discharge  of 
iheir  taxes.  He  has,  I  think,  been  fully  answered.  He 
must  see  the  futility  of  such  a  mode.  When  our  wants 
would  be  greatest,  these  articles  would  be  least  productive  5 
I  mean  in  time  of  war.  But  we  still  have  means;  such 
means  as  honest  and  assiduous  men  will  find.  He  says 
that  Congress  cannot  lay  the  tax  to  suit  us.  He  has  foi- 
gotten  that  Congress  are  acquainted  with  us  —  go  from  us 
—  are  situated  like  ourselves.  1  will  be  lx)ld  to  say,  it  will 
be  most  thisir  own  interest  to  behave  with  propriety  and 
moderation.     Their  own  interest  will  prompt  them  to  lay 


86  DEBATES.  [lIiLL 

taxes  moderately ;  and  nothing  but  the  last  necessity  will 
urge  them  to  recur  to  that  expedient. 

This  is  a  most  essential  clause.  Without  money,  govern- 
ment will  answer  no  purpose.  Gentlemen  compare  this  to 
a  foreign  tax.  It  is  by  no  means  the  case.  It  is  laid  by 
ourselves.  Our  own  representatives  lay  it,  and  will,  no 
doubt,  use  the  most  easy  means  of  raising  it,  possible.  Why 
not  trust  our  own  representatives  ?  We  might,  no  doubt, 
have  confidence  in  them  on  this  occasion,  as  well  as  every 
other.  If  the  Continental  treasury  is  to  depend  on  the 
states,  as  usual,  it  will  be  always  poor.  But  gentlemen 
are  Jealous,  and  unwilling  to  trust  government,  thoitgh  they 
are  their  own  representatives.  Their  maxim  is.  Trust  them 
with  no  power.  This  holds  against  all  government.  An 
archy  will  ensue  if  government  be  not  trusted.  I  think  that 
I  know  the  sentiments  of  the  honest,  industrious  part  of  the 
community,  as  well  as  any  gentleman  in  this  house.  They 
wish  to  discharge  these  debts,  and  are  able.  If  they  can 
raise  the  interest  of  the  public  debt,  it  is  sufficient.  They 
will  not  be  called  upon  for  more  than  the  interest,  till  such 
time  as  the  country  be  rich  and  populous.  The  principal 
•:an  then  be  paid  with  great  facility. 

We  can  borrow  money  with  ease,  and  on  advantageous 
terms,  when  it  shall  be  known  that  Congress  will  have  that 
power  which  all  governments  ought  to  have.  Congress  will 
not  pay  their  debts  in  paper  money.  I  am  willing  to  trust 
this  article  to  Congress,  because  I  have  no  reason  to  think 
that  our  government  will  be  better  than  it  has  been.  Per- 
haps I  have  spoken  too  liberally  of  the  legislature  before  ; 
but  I  do  not  expect  that  they  will  ever,  without  a  radical 
change  of  men  and  measures,  wish  to  put  the  general  gov- 
ernment on  a  better  footing.  It  is  not  the  poor  man  who 
opposes  the  payment  of  those  just  debts  to  which  we  owe 
our  independence  and  |)olitical  existence,  but  the  rich  miser. 
Not  the  poor,  but  the  rich,  shudder  at  the  idea  of  taxes.  1 
have  no  dread  that  Congress  will  distress  us ;  nor  have  I  any 
fear  that  the  tax  will  be  embezzled  by  officers.  Industry 
and  economy  will  be  promoted,  and  money  will  be  easier 
got  than  ever  it  has  been  yet.  The  taxes  will  be  paid  by 
the  people  when  called  upon.  I  trust  that  all  honest,  in- 
dustrious people  will  think,  with  me,  that  Congress  ought  to 
be  possessed  of  the  power  of  applying  immediately  to  the 


people  for  its  support,  without  the  interposition  of  the  state 
legislatures.  1  have  uo  confidence  in  the  legislature :  the 
people  do  not  $up))ose  them  to  be  honest  men. 

Mr.  S  TEELE  was  decidedly  in  favor  of  the  clause.  A 
government  without  revenue  he  compared  to  a  jioor,  forlorn, 
dependent  individual,  and  said  that  the  one  would  be  as 
helpless  and  contemptible  as  the  other.  He  wished  the 
government  of  the  Union  to  be  on  a  respectable  footing. 
Congress,  he  said,  showed  no  disposition  to  tax  us  —  that  • 
it  was  well  known  that  a  poll  tax  of  eighteen  pence  per 
poll,  and  six  pence  per  hundred  acres  of  land,  was  appro- 
priated and  offered  by  the  legislature  to  Congress  —  that 
Congress  was  solicited  to  send  the  oflficers  to  collect  those 
taxes,  but  they  refused  —  that  if  this  power  was  not  given 
to  Congress,  the  people  must  be  oppressed,  especially  in 
time  of  war  —  that,  during  the  last  war,  provisions,  horses, 
tc.,  had  been  taken  from  the  people  by  force,  to  supply  the 
wants  of  government  —  that  a  respectable  government  would 
not  be  under  the  necessity  of  recurring  to  such  unwarrant- 
able means  —  that  such  a  method  was  unequal  and  oppres- 
sive to  the  last  degree.  The  citizens,  whose  property  was 
pressed  from  them,  paid  all  the  taxes ;  the  rest  escaped. 
The  press-masters  went  often  to  the  poorest,  and  not  to  the 
richest  citizens,  and  took  their  horses,  &c.  This  disabled 
them  from  making  a  crop  the  next  year.  It  would  be  bet- 
ter, he  said,  to  lay  the  public  burdens  equally  upon  the  peo- 
ple. Without  this  power,  the  other  powers  of  Congress 
would  be  nugatory.  He  added,  that  it  would,  in  his  opin- 
ion, give  strength  and  respectability  to  the  United  States  in 
rime  of  war,  would  promote  industry  and  frugality,  and 
would  enable  the  government  to  protect  and  extend  com- 
merce, and  consetjuently  increase  the  riches  and  population  . 
of  the  country. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  is  a 
power  that  I  will  never  agree  to  give  up  from  the  hands  of 
the  people  of  this  country.  We  know  that  the  amount  of 
the  imposts  will  be  trifling,  and  that  the  expenses  of  this 
government  will  be  very  great ;  Consequently  the  taxes  will 
be  very  high.  The  tax-gatherers  will  be  sent,  and  our 
property  will  be  wrested  out  of  our  hands.  The  Senate  is 
most  dangerously  constructed.  Our  only  security  is  the  House 
t»l  Representatives.     They  may  be  continued  at  Congress? 

88  DEBATES.  [JouNSToii. 

eight  or  ten  years.  At  such  a  distance  from  their  homes, 
and  for  so  long  a  time,  they  will  have  no  feeling  for,  nor 
any  knowledge  of,  the  situation  of  the  people.  If  elected 
from  the  seaports,  they  will  not  know  the  western  part  of 
the  country,  and  vice  versa.  Two  cooperative  powers  can- 
not exist  together.  One  must  submit.  The  inferior  must 
give  up  to  the  superior.  While  I  am  up,  I  will  say  some- 
thing to  what  has  been  said  by  the  gentleman  to  ridicule  the 
General  Assembly.  He  represents  the  legislature  in  a  very 
opprobrious  light.  It  is  very  astonishing  that  (he  people 
should  choose  men  of  such  characters  to  represent  them.  If 
the  people  be  virtuous,  why  should  they  put  confidence  in 
men  of  a  contrary  disposition  ?  As  to  paper  money,  it  was 
the  result  of  necessity.  We  were  involved  in  a  great  war. 
What  money  had  been  in  the  country  was  sent  to  other 
parts  of  the  world.  What  would  have  been  the  consequence 
if  paper  money  had  not  been  made  ?  We  must  have  been 
undone.  Our  political  existence  must  have  been  destroyed. 
The  extreme  scarcity  of  specie,  with  other  good  causes, 
particularly  the  solicitation  of  the  officers  to  receive  it  at  its 
nominal  value,  for  their  pay,  produced  subsequent  emissions. 
He  tells  us  that  all  the  people  wish  this  power  to  be  given 
—  that  the  mode  of  payment  need  only  be  pointed  out,  and 
that  they  will  willingly  pay.  How  are  they  to  raise  the 
money  ?  Have  they  it  in  their  chests  ?  Suppose,  for  in- 
stance, there  be  a  tax  of  two  shillings  per  hundred  laid  on 
land  ;  where  is  the  money  to  pay  it  ?  We  have  it  not.  I 
am  acquainted  with  the  people.  I  know  their  situation. 
They  have  no  money.  Requisitions  may  yet  be  complied 
with.  Industry  and  frugality  may  enable  the  people  to  pay 
moderate  taxes,  if  laid  by  those  who  have  a  knowledge  of 
their  situation,  and  a  feeling  for  them.  If  the  tax-gatherers 
come  upon  us,  they  will,  like  the  locusts  of  old,  destroy  us. 
They  will  have  pretty  high  salaries,  and  exert  themselves  to 
oppress  us.  When  we  consider  these  things,  we  should  be 
cautious.  They  will  be  weighed,  I  trust,  by  the  House. 
Nothing  said  by  the  gentlemen  on  the  other  side  has  obvi- 
ated my  objections. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.     Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  who 
was  last  up,  still  insists  on  the  great  utility  which  would  re 
suit  from  that  mode  which  has  hitherto  been  found  ineffect 
ual.     It   is  amazing  that  past  experience  will  not  instruct 
him.     When  a  merchant  follows  a  similar  mode,  — when  he 


purchases  dear  and  sells  cheap,  —  he  is  called  a  swindler 
and  must  soon  become  a  bankrupt.  This  state  deserves 
(hat  most  disgraceful  epithet.  We  are  swindlers ;  we  gave 
three  pounds  per  hundred  weight  for  tobacco,  and  sold  it 
three  dollars  per  hundred  weight,  after  having  paid  very 
considerable  expenses  for  transporting  and  keeping  it.  Th^ 
United  States  are  bankrupts.  They  are  considered  such  in 
every  part  of  the  world.  They  borrow  money,  and  promise 
to  pay  :  they  have  it  not  in  their  power,  and  they  are  obliged 
to  ask  of  the  people,  whom  they  owe,  to  lend  them  money 
to  pay  the  very  interest.  This  is  disgraceful  and  humiliating. 
By  these  means  we  are  paying  compound  interest.  No  pri- 
vate fortune,  however  great,  —  no  estate,  however  affluent, 
—  can  stand  this  most  destructive  mode.  This  has  proceed- 
ed from  the  inefficacy  of  requisitions.  Shall  we  continue  the 
same  practice?  Shall  we  not  rather  struggle  to  get  over  our 
misfortunes  ?    I  hope  we  shall. 

Another  member,  on  the  same  side,  says  that  it  is  im- 
proper to  take  the  power  of  taxation  out  of  the  hands  of 
the  people.  I  deny  that  it  is  taken  out  of  their  hands  by 
this  system.  Their  iniimediate  representatives  lay  these 
taxes.  Taxes  are  necessary  for  every  government.  Can 
there  be  any  danger  when  these  taxes  are  laid  by  the  rep- 
resentatives of  the  people  ?  If  there  be,  where  can  political 
safety  be  found  ?  But  it  is  said  that  we  have  a  small  proportion 
of  that  representation.  Our  proportion  is  equal  to  the  propor- 
tion of  money  we  shall  have  to  pay.  It  is  therefore  a  full 
proportion  ;  and  unless  we  suppose  that  all  the  members  of 
Congress  shall  combine  to  ruin  their  constituents,  we  have 
no  reason  to  fear.  It  is  said  (I  know  not  from  what  prin- 
'uple)  that  our  representatives  will  be  taken  from  the  sea- 
«;oast,  and  will  not  know  in  what  manner  to  lay  the  tax 
lo  suit  the  citizens  of  the  western  part  of  the  country.  I 
know  not  whence  that  idea  arose.  The  gentlemen  from 
the  westward  are  not  precluded  from  voting  for  representa- 
tives. They  have  it,  therefore,  in  their  power  to  send  them 
from  the  westward,  or  the  middle  part  of  the  state.  They 
•ire  more  numerous,  and  can  send  them,  or  the  greater 
part  of  them.  I  do  not  doubt  but  they  will  send  the  most 
proper,  and  men  in  whom  they  can  put  confidence,  and 
will  give  them,  from  time  to  time,  instructions  to  enlighten 
their  minds. 

VOL.  IV.  12 

90  DEBATES  [JouNHTiiN. 

Something  has  been  said  with  regard  to  their  paper  money. 
1  think  very  little  can  be  done  in  favor  of  it ;  much  may  be 
said,  very  justly,  in  favor  of  it. 

Every  man  of  property  —  every  man  of  considerable  trans- 
actions, whether  a  merchant,  planter,  mechanic,  or  of  any 
other  condition  —  must  have  felt  the  baneful  influence  of 
that  currency.  It  gave  us  relief  for  a  moment.  It  assisted 
us  in  the  prosecution  of  a  bloody  war.  It  is  destructive, 
however,  in  general,  in  the  end.  It  was  struck,  in  the  last 
instance,  for  the  pur|X)se  of  paying  the  officers  and  soldiers. 
The  motive  was  laudable. 

I  then  thought,  and  still  do,  that  those  gentlemen  might 
have  had  more  advantage  by  not  receiving  that  kind  of  pay- 
ment. It  would  have  been  better  for  them,  and  for  the 
country,  had  it  not  been  emitted.  We  have  involved  our- 
selves in  a  debt  of  £200,000.  We  have  not,  with  this  sum, 
honestly  and  fairly  paid  £50,000.  W^as  this  right  ?  But, 
say  they,  there  was  no  circulating  medium.  This  want  was 
necessary  to  be  supplied.  It  is  a  doubt  with  me  whether 
the  circulating  medium  be  increased  by  an  emission  of  paper 
currency.  Before  the  emission  of  the  paper  money,  there 
was  a  great  deal  of  hard  money  among  us.  For  thirty  years 
past,  I  had  not  known  so  much  specie  in  circulation  as  we 
had  at  the  emission  of  paper  money,  in  1783.  That  medium 
was  increasing  daily.  People  from  abroad  bring  specie  ;  for, 
thank  God,  our  country  produces  articles  which  are  every 
where  in  demand.  There  is  more  specie  in  the  country 
than  is  generally  imagined  ;  but  the  proprietors  keep  it  locked 
up.  No  man  will  part  with  his  specie.  It  lies  in  his  chest. 
It  is  asked,  Why  not  lend  it  out  ?  The  answer  is  obvious 
—  that,  should  he  once  let  it  get  out  of  his  power,  he  never 
can  recover  the  whole  of  it.  If  he  bring  suit,  he  will  obtain 
a  verdict  for  one  half  of  it.  This  is  the  reason  of  our  pov- 
erty. The  scarcity  of  money  must  be,  in  some  degree,  owing 
to  this  ;  and  the  specie  which  is  now  in  this  country  might 
as  well  be  in  any  other  part  of  the  world.  If  our  trade 
was  once  on  a  respectable  footing,  we  should  tind  means 
of  paying  that  enormous  debt. 

Another  observation  was  made,  which  has  not  yet  been 
answered,  viz.,  that  the  demands  of  the  United  States  will  be 
smaller  than  those  of  the  states,  for  this  reason  —  the  United 
States  will  only  make  a  demand  of  the  interest  of  the  public 
debts:  the  states  must  demand  both  principal  and  ioterevt* 


for  I  presume  no  state  can,  on  an  emergency,  producoy 
without  the  aid  of  individuals,  a  sum  sufficient  for  that  pur- 
pose ;  but  the  United  States  can  borrow,  on  the  credit  of 
the  fundi  arising  from  their  power  of  laying  taxes,  such 
sums  as  will  be  equal  to  the  emergency. 

There  will  be  always  credit  given,  where  there  is  good 
security.  No  man,  who  is  not  a  miser,  will  hesitate  to  trus* 
where  th^re  is  a  respectable  security;  but  credulity  itselt 
would  not  trust  where  there  was  no  kind  of  security,  bu 
an  absolute  certainty  of  losing.  Mankind  wish  to  make  their 
money  productive;  they  will  therefore  lend  it  where  there  is 
a  security  and  certainty  of  recovering  it,  and  no  longer  keep 
it  hoarded  in  strong  boxes. 

This  power  is  essential  to  the  very  existence  of  the  gov- 
ernment. Requisitions  are  fruitless  and  idle.  Every  expe- 
dient proposed  as  an  alternative,  or  to  qualify  this  power,  is 
replete  with  inconvenience.  It  appears  to  me,  therefore,  upon 
the  whole,  that  this  article  stands  much  better,  as  it  is,  than 
in  any  other  manner. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr  Chairman,  I  do  not  presume  to 
rise  to  discuss  this  clause,  after  the  very  able,  and,  in  my 
opinion,  unanswerable  arguments  which  have  been  urged  in 
favor  of  it ;  but  merely  to  c6rrect  an  error  which  fell  from  a 
respectable  member  (Mr.  M'Dowall)  on  the  other  side. 

It  was,  that  Congress,  by  interfering  with  the  mode  of 
elections,  might  continue  themselves  in  office.  I  thought 
that  this  was  sufficiently  explained  yesterday.  There  is 
nothing  in  the  Constitution  to  empower  Congress  to  con- 
tinue themselves  longer  than  the  time  specified.  It  says, 
expressly,  that  the  House  of  Representatives  shall  consist 
of  members  chosen  for  two  years,  and  that  the  Senate  shall 
be  composed  of  senators  chosen  for  six  years.  At  the  ex- 
piration of  these  terms,  the  right  of  election  reverts  to  the 
people  and  the  states ;  nor  is  there  any  thing  in  the  Con- 
stitution to  warrant  a  contrary  supposition.  The  clause  al- 
luded to  has  no  reference  to  the  duration  of  members  in 
Congress,  but  merely  as  to  the  time  and  manner  of  their 

Now  that  I  am  up,  I  beg  leave  to  take  notice  of  a  sug 
gestion,  that  Congress  could  as  easily  borrow  money  when 
they  had  the  ultimate  power  of  laying  taxes,  as  if  they  pos- 
sessed it  in  the  first  instance.     I  entirely  differ  from  that 

{>?.  DEBATES.  [Iredell. 

opinion.  Had  Congress  the  immediate  power,  tnere  would 
be  no  doubt  the  money  would  be  raised.  In  the  other  mode, 
doubts  might  be  entertained  concerning  it.  For  can  any  man 
suppose  that  if,  for  any  reasons,  the  state  legislatures  did 
not  think  proper  to  pay  their  quotas,  and  Congress  should  be 
r.ompelled  to  lay  taxes,  it  would  not  raise  alarms  in  the 
state  ?  Is  it  not  reasonable  the  people  would  be  more  apt 
to  side  with  their  state  legislature,  who  indulged  them,  than 
with  Congress,  who  imposed  taxes  upon  them  r  They  would 
say,  "  Had  we  been  able  to  pay,  our  state  legislature  would 
have  raised  the  money.  They  know  and  feel  for  our  dis- 
tresses ;  but  Congress  have  no  regard  for  our  situation,  and 
have  imposed  taxes  on  us  we  are  unable  to  bear."  This  is, 
sir,  what  would  probably  happen.  Language  like  this  would 
be  the  high  road  to  popularity.  In  all  countries,  particularly 
in  free  ones,  there  are  many  ready  to  catch  at  such  opportu- 
nities of  making  themselves  of  consequence  with  the  people: 
General  discontent  would  probably  ensue,  and  a  serious 
quarrel  take  place  between  the  general  and  the  state  govern- 
ments. Foreigners,  who  would  view  our  situation  narrowly 
before  ihey  lent  their  money,  would  certainly  be  less  willing 
to  risk  it  on  such  contingencies  as  these,  than  if  they  knew 
there  was  a  direct  fund  for  their  payment,  from  which  no  ill 
consequences  could  be  apprehended.  The  difference  be- 
tween those  who  are  able  to  borrow,  and  those  who  are  not, 
IS  extremely  great.  Upon  a  critical  emergency,  it  may  be 
mipossible  to  raise  the  full  sum  wanted  immediately  upon 
the  people.  In  this  case,  if  the  public  credit  is  good,  they 
may  borrow  a  certain  sum,  and  raise  for  the  present  only 
enough  to  pay  the  interest,  deferring  the  payment  of  the 
principal  till  the  public  is  more  able  to  bear  it.  In  the  other 
case,  where  no  money  can  be  borrowed,  there  is  no  resource, 
if  the  whole  sum  cannot  be  raised  immediately.  The  dif- 
ference, perhaps,  may  be  stated  as  twenty  to  one.  A  hun- 
dred thousand  pounds,  therefore,  may  be  wanted  in  the  one 
case  ;  five  thousand  pounds  may  be  sufficient,  for  the  present, 
in  the  other.  Sure  this  is  a  difference  of  the  utmost  moment. 
I  should  not  have  risen  at  all,  were  it  not  for  the  strong  im- 
pression which  might  have  been  made  by  the  error  com 
mitted  by  the  worthy  gentleman  on  the  other  side.  I  hope 
[  shall  be  excused  for  the  time  I  have  taken  up  with  the  ad- 
ditional matter,  though  it  was  only  staling  what  had  been 
urged  with  great  propriety  before. 

Johnston.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  9J 

Mr.  GOUDY.     Mr.  Chairman,  this  is  a  dispute  whether 
ongress  shall    have    great,   enormous   powers.     I  am   not 
ble  to  follow  these  learned  gentlemen  through  all  the  laby- 
**inths  of  their  oratory.     Some  represent  us  as  rich,  and  not 
Soonest ;  and  others  again  represent  us  as  honest,  and    not 
K-ich.     We  have  no  gold  or  silver,  no  substantial  money,  to 
j)ay  taxes  with.     This  clause,  with  the  clause  of  elections, 
'Will  totally  destroy  our  liberties.     The  subject  of  our  con- 
sideration therefore  is,  whether  it  be  proper  to  give  any  man, 
€)r  set  of  men,  an  unlimited  power  over  our  purse,  without 
any  kind  of  control.     The  purse-strings  are  given  up  by  this 
clause.     The  sword  is  also  given  up    by  this  system,     h 
there  no  danger  in  giving  up  lx)th?     There  is  no  diingei, 
we  are  told.     It  may  be  so ;  but  I  am  jealous  and  suspicious 
of  the  liberties  of  mankind.     And  if  it  be  a  character  which 
no  man  wishes  but  myself,  I  am  willing  to  take  it.     Suspi- 
cions, in  small  communities,  are  a  pest  to  mankind  ;  but  in  a 
matter  of  this  magnitude,  which   concerns  the  interest  of 
millions  yet  unborn,  suspicion  is  a  very  noble  virtue.     Let 
us  see,  therefore,  how  far  we  give  power ;  for  when  it  is  once 
given,  we  cannot  take  it  away.     It  is  said  that  those  who 
formed  this  Constitution  were  great  and  good  men.     We  do 
not  dispute  it.     We  also  admit  that  great  and  learned  people 
have  adopted  it.     But  I  have  a  judgment  of  my  own ;  and, 
though  not  so  well  informed  always  as  others,  yet  I  will  exert 
it  when  manifest  danger  presents  itself.     When  the  power  of 
the  purse  and  the  sword  is  given  up,  we  dare  not  think  foi 
ourselves.     In  case  of  war,  the  last  man  and  the  last  penny 
would  be  extorted  from  us.     That  the  Constitution  has  a 
tendency  to  destroy  the  state  governments,  must  be  clear  to 
every  man  of  common  understanding.     Gentlemen,  by  their 
learned  arguments,  endeavor  to  conceal  the  danger  from  us. 
I  have  no  notion  of  this  method  of  evading  arguments,  and 
of  clouding  them  over  with  rhetoric,  and,  I  must  say,  soph- 
istry too.     But  I  hope   no    man  will    be  led    astray  with 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  observed,  that  if  any  sophistical  argu- 
ments had  been  made  use  of,  they  ought  to  be  pointed  out , 
and  nobody  could  doubt  that  it  was  in  the  power  of  a 
learned  divine  (alluding  to  Mr.  Caldwell)  to  show  their 

Gov.  Johnston,  being  informed  of  his  mistake  in  taking 
Mr.  Goudy  for  Mr.  Caldwell,  apologized  for  it. 

94  DEBATES.  [Maclaikb 

Mr  PORTER.  Mr  Chairman,  I  must  say  that  I  think 
the  gentleman  last  up  was  wrong;  for  the  other  gentleman 
was,  in  my  opinion,  right.  This  is  a  money  clause.  I 
would  fain  know  whence  this  power  originates.  I  have 
heard  it  said  that  the  legislature  were  villains,  and  that  this 
power  was  to  be  exercised  by  the  representatives  of  the 
people.  When  a  building  is  raised,  it  should  be  on  solid 
ground.  Every  gentleman  must  agree  that  we  should  not 
build  a  superstructure  on  a  foundation  of  villains.  Gentle- 
men say  that  the  mass  of  the  people  are  honest.  I  hope 
gentlemen  will  consider  that  we  should  build  the  structure 
on  the  people,  and  not  on  the  representatives  of  the  people 
Agreeably  to  the  gentleman's  argument,  (Mr  Hill,)  our  rep- 
resentatives will  be  mere  villains.  I  expect  that  very 
learned  arguments,  and  powerful  oratory,  will  be  displayed 
on  this  occasion.  I  ex|>ect  that  the  great  cannon  from  Hali- 
fax (meaning  Mr  Davie)  will  discharge  fire-balls  among  us ; 
but  large  batteries  are  often  taken  by  small  arms. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH  wished  that  gentlemen  would 
desist  from  making  personal  reflections.  He  was  of  opinion 
that  it  was  wrong  to  do  so,  and  incompatible  with  their  duty 
to  their  constituents ;  that  every  man  had  a  right  to  dis- 
play his  abilities,  and  he  hoped  they  would  no  longer  reflect 
ui)on  one  another. 

From  the  2d  to  the  8th  clause  read  without  any  observa- 

9th  clause  read 

S(»veral  members  wished  to  hear  an  explanation  of  this 
chaise.  Mr.  MACLAINE  looked  upon  this  as  a  very  val- 
uable part  of  the  Constitution,  because  it  consulted  the 
ease  and  convenience  of  the  people  at  large ;  for  that,  if 
the  Supreme  Court  were  at  one  fixed  place,  and  no  other 
tribunals  established,  nothing  could  possibly  be  more  in- 
jurious ;  that  it  was  therefore  necessary  that  Congress 
should  have  power  to  constitute  tribunals  in  different  states, 
for  th(»  trial  of  common  causes,  and  to  have  appeals  to  the 
Supreme  Court  in  matters  of  more  magnitude  —  that  that 
was  his  idea,  but,  if  not  satisfactory,  he  trusted  other  gen- 
tlemen would  explain  it  —  that  it  would  be  more  explained 
when  they  came  to  the  judiciary. 

The  10th  and  11th  clauses  read  without  any  observation. 

12th  clause  read 

/£Bi>tLL.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  96 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  clause  is  of  sc> 
much  importance,  that  we  ought  to  consider  it  with  the 
loost  serious  attention.  It  is  a  power  vested  in  Congress, 
which,  in  my  opinion,  is  absolutely  indispensable ;  yet  there 
have  been,  perhaps,  more  objections  made  to  it  than  any 
)lher  power  vested  in  Congress.  For  my  part,  I  will  ob- 
serve generally  that,  so  far  from  being  displeased  with  that 
jealousy  and  extreme  caution  with  which  gentlemen  consider 
every  power  proposed  to  be  given  to  this  government,  they 
give  me  the  utmost  satisfaction. 

I  believe  the  passion  for  liberty  is  stronger  in  America 
than  in  any  other  country  in  the  world.  Here  every  man 
fi  strongly  impressed  with  its  importance,  and  every  breast 
glows  for  the  preservation  of  it.  Every  jealousy,  not  in- 
compiitible  with  the  indispensable  principles  of  government, 
is  to  be  commended  ;  but  these  principles  must  at  all  events 
be  observed.  The  powers  of  government  ought  to  be  com- 
petent to  the  public  safety.  This,  indeed,  is  the  primary 
object  of  all  governments.  It  is  the  duty  of  gentlemen  who 
form  a  constitution  to  take  care  that  no  power  should  be 
wanting  which  the  safety  of  the  community  requires.  The 
exigencies  of  the  country  must  be  provided  for,  not  only  in 
respect  to  common  and  usual  cases,  but  for  occasions  which 
do  not  frequently  occur.  If  such  a  provision  is  not  made, 
critical  occasions  may  arise,  when  there  must  be  either  a 
usurpation  of  power,  or  the  public  safety  eminently  endan- 
gered ;  for,  besides  the  evils  attending  a  frequent  change  of 
a  constitution,  the  case  may  not  admit  of  so  slow  a  remedy. 
In  considering  the  powers  that  ought  to  be  vested  in  any  gov- 
ernment, possible  abuses  ought  not  to  be  pointed  out,  with- 
out at  the  same  time  considering  their  use.  No  power,  of 
any  kind  or  degree,  can  be  given  but  what  may  be  abused; 
we  have,  therelbre,  only  to  consider  whether  any  particular 
power  is  absolutely  necessary.  If  it  be,  the  power  must 
be  given,  and  we  must  run  the  risk  of  the  abuse,  considering 
our  risk  of  this  evil  as  one  of  the  conditions  of  the  imperfect 
state  of  human  nature,  where  there  is  no  good  without  the 
mixture  of  some  evil.  At  the  same  time,  it  is  undoubtedly 
our  duly  to  guard  against  abuses  as  much  as  possible.  In 
America,  we  enjoy  peculiar  blessings ;  the  people  are  dis- 
tinguished by  the  possession  of  freedom  in  a  very  high  de- 
gree, unmixed  with  those  oppressions  the  freest  countries 

96  DEBATES.  [iREDELi, 

in  Europe  sufler.  But  we  ought  to  consider  that  in  this 
country,  as  well  as  in  others,  it  is  equally  necessary  to  re- 
strain and  suppress  internal  commotions,  and  to  guard  against 
foreign  hostility.  There  is,  I  believe,  no  govenmient  in  the 
world  without  a  power  to  raise  armies.  In  some  countries 
in  Europe,  a  great  force  is  necessary  to  be  kept  up,  to  guard 
against  those  numerous  armies  maintained  by  many  sover- 
eigns there,  where  an  army  belonging  to  one  government 
alone  sometimes  amounts  to  two  hundred  thousand  or  four 
hundred  thousand  men.  Happily,  we  are  situated  at  a 
great  distance  from  them,  and  the  inconsiderable  power  to 
the  north  of  us  is  not  likely  soon  to  he  very  formidable 
But  though  our  situation  places  us  at  a  remote  danger,  i" 
cannot  be  pretended  we  are  in  no  danger  at  all.  I  believe 
there  is  no  man  who  has  written  on  this  subject,  but  han 
admitted  that  this  power  of  raising  armies  is  necessary  in 
time  of  war ;  but  they  do  not  choose  to  admit  of  it  in  a 
time  of  peace.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that,  in  time  of  peace, 
there  will  not  be  occasion,  at  any  time,  but  for  a  very  small 
number  of  forces;  possibly,  a  few  garrisons  may  be  neces- 
sary to  guard  the  frontiers,  and  an  insurrection  like  that 
lately  in  Massachusetts  might  require  some  troops.  But  a 
time  of  war  is  the  time  when  the  power  would  probably 
be  exerted  to  any  extent.  Let  us,  however,  consider  the 
consequences  of  a  limitation  of  this  power  to  a  time  of  war 
only.  One  moment's  consideration  will  show  the  impolicy 
of  it  in  the  most  glaring  manner.  We  certainly  ought  to 
guard  against  the  machinations  of  other  countries.  We 
know  not  what  designs  may  be  entertained  against  us ;  but 
surely,  when  known,  we  ought  to  endeavor  to  counteract 
their  effects.  Such  designs  mav  be  entertained  in  a  time 
of  profound  peace,  as  well  as  after  a  declaration  of  war. 
Now  suppose,  for  instance,  our  government  had  received 
i-ertain  intelligence  that  the  British  government  had  formed 
a  scheme  to  attack  New  York,  next  April,  with  ten  thou- 
sand men ;  would  it  not  be  proper  immediately  to  prepare 
against  it  ?  —  and  by  so  doing  the  scheme  might  be  defeated. 
But  if  Congress  had  no  such  power,  because  it  was  a  time 
of  peace,  the  place  must  fall  the  instan*  it  was  attacked  ; 
and  it  might  take  years  to  recover  what  might  at  first  have 
been  seasonably  defended.  This  restriction,  therefore,  can- 
not take  place  with  safety  to  the  community,  and  the  power 

Uedeix.]  north  CABXXLINA.  97 

HKist  of  course  be  left  to  the  direction  of  the  general  govern- 
ment. I  hope  there  will  be  little  necessity  for  the  exercise 
of  this  power ;  and  I  trust  that  the  universal  resentment 
and  resistance  of  the  people  will  meet  every  attempt  to 
abuse  this  or  aoy  other  power.  That  high  spirit  for  which 
they  are  distinguished,  I  hope,  will  ever  exist;  and  it 
probably  will  as  long  as  we  have  a  republican  form  of  gov- 
ernment. Every  man  feels  a  consciousness  of  a  personal 
equality  and  independence.  Let  him  look  at  any  part  of 
the  continent,  —  he  can  see  no  superiors.  This  personal  in- 
dependence is  the  surest  safeguard  of  the  public  freedom. 
But  is  it  probable  that  our  own  representatives,  chosen  for  a 
limited  time,  can  be  capable  of  destroying  themselves,  their 
families  and  fortunes,  even  if  they  have  no  regard  to  their 
public  duty  ?  When  such  considerations  are  involved,  surely 
it  is  very  unlikely  that  they  will  attempt  to  raise  an  army 
against  the  liberties  of  their  country.  Were  we  to  establish 
an  hereditary  nobility,  or  a  set  of  men  who  were  to  have 
exclusive  privileges,  then,  indeed,  our  jealousy  might  be  well 
grounded.  But,  fortunately,  we  have  no  such.  The  re- 
striction contended  for,  of  no  standing  army  in  time  of  peace, 
forms  a  part  of  our  own  state  Constitution.  What  has  been 
the  consequence  ?  In  December,  1786,  the  Assembly 
flagrantly  violated  it,  by  raising  two  hundred  and  one  men, 
for  two  years,  for  the  defence  of  Davidson  county.  I  do 
not  deny  that  the  intention  might  have  been  good,  and  that 
the  Assembly  really  thought  the  situation  of  that  part  of 
the  country  required  such  a  defence.  But  this  makes  the 
argument  still  stronger  against  the  impolicy  of  such  a  re- 
striction, since  our  own  experience  points  out  the  danger 
resulting  from  it ;  for  I  take  it  for  granted,  that  we  could 
not  at  that  time  be  said  to  be  in  a  state  of  war.  Dreadful 
might  the  condition  of  this  countiy«be  without  this  power. 
We  must  trust  our  friends  or  trust  o«lr  enemies.  There  is 
one  restriction  on  this  [lower,  whicih  I  believe  is  the  only 
one  that  ought  to  be  put  upon  it.  ^t)*i 

Though  Congress  are  to  have  the  power  of  raising  and 
supporting  armies,  yet  they  cannot  appropriate  money  for 
th  «t  purpose  for  a  longer  time  than  two  years.  Now,  we 
will  suppose  that  the  majority  of  the  two  houses  should  be 
capable  of  making  a  bad  use  of  this  power,  and  should  ap- 
propriate more  money  to  raise  an  army  than  is  necessary 

VOL.  IV.  13  ^ 

98  DEBATES.  [Ircobix. 

Tlie  appropriation,  we  have  seen,  cannot  be  constitutional  for 
more  than  two  years.  Within  that  time  it  might  command 
obedience.  But  at  the  end  of  the  second  year  from  the  first 
choice,  the  whole  House  of  Representatives  must  l)e  re 
chosen,  and  also  one  third  of  the  Senate.  The  people, 
being  inflamed  with  the  abuse  of  power  of  the  old  members, 
would  turn  them  out  with  indignation.  Upon  their  return 
home,  they  would  meet  the  universal  execrations  of  their 
fellow-citizens.  Instead  of  the  grateful  plaudits  of  their 
country,  so  dear  to  every  feeling  mind,  they  would  be  treated 
with  the  utmost  resentment  and  contempt;  their  names 
would  be  held  in  everlasting  infamy ;  and  their  measures 
would  be  instantly  reprobated  and  changed  by  the  new 
members.  In  two  years,  a  system  of  tyranny  certainly  could 
not  succeed  in  the  face  of  the  whole  people ;  and  the  appro- 
priation could  not  be  with  any  safety  for  less  than  that 
period.  If  it  depended  on  an  annual  vote,  the  consequence 
might  be,  that,  at  a  critical' period,  when  military  operations 
were  necessary,  the  troops  would  not  know  whether  they 
were  entitled  to  pay  or  not,  and  could  not  safely  act  till 
they  knew  that  the  annual  vote  had  passed.  To  refuse  this 
power  to  the  government,  would  be  to  invite  insults  and 
attacks  from  other  nations.  Let  us  not,  for  God's  sake,  be 
guilty  of  such  indiscretion  as  to  trust  our  enemies'  mercy, 
but  give,  as  is  our  duty,  a  sufficient  power  to  government  to 
protect  their  cfjuntry, — guarding,  at  the  same  time,  against 
abuses  as  well  as  we  can.  We  well  know  what  this  country 
suffered  by  the  ravages  of  the  British  army  during  the  war. 
How  could  we  have  been  saved  but  by  an  army?  Without 
that  resource  we  should  soon  have  felt  the  miserable  conse- 
quences;  and  this  day,  instead  of  having  the  honor — the 
greatest  any  peo|)le  ever  enjoyed  —  to  choose  a  government 
which  our  reason  recommends,  we  should  have  been  groan- 
ing  under  the  most  intolerable  tyranny  that  was  ever  felt. 
We  ought  not  to  think  these  dangers  are  entirely  over.  The 
British  government  is  not  friendly  to  us.  They  dread  the 
rising  glory  of  America.  They  tremble  for  the  West  Indies, 
and  their  colonies  to  the  north  of  us.  They  have  counter- 
acted us  on  every  occasion  since  the  peace.  Instead  of  a 
jberal  and  reciprocal  commerce,  they  hiive  attempted  to 
confine  us  to  a  most  narrow  and  ignominious  one.  Their 
pride  is  still  irritated  with  the  disappointment  of  their  en- 


deavors  to  enslave  us.  They  know  that,  on  the  record  of 
history,  their  conduct  towards  us  must  appear  in  the  most  dis- 
graceful light.  Let  it  also  appear,  on  the  record  of  history, 
that  America  was  equally  wise  and  fortunate  in  peace  as  well 
as  in  war.  Let  it  be  said  that,  with  a  temper  and  unanimity 
unexampled,  they  corrected  the  vices  of  an  imperfect  gov- 
ernment, and  framed  a  new  one  on  the  basis  of  justice  and 
liberty ;  that,  though  all  did  not  concur  in  approving  the 
particular  structure  of  this  government,  yet  that  the  minority 
peaceably  and  respectfully  submitted  to  the  decision  of  the 
greater  number.  This  is  a  spectacle  so  great,  that,  if  it 
should  succeed,  this  must  be  considered  the  greatest  country 
under  heaven;  for  there  is  no  instance  of  any  such  deliber- 
ate change  of  government  in  any  other  nation  that  ever 
existed.  But  how  would  it  gratify  the  pride  of  our  enemy 
to  say,  "  We  could  not  conquer  you,  but  you  have  ruined 
yourselves.  You  have  foolishly  quarrelled  about  trifles.  You 
are  unfit  for  any  government  whatever.  You  have  separated 
from  us,  when  you  were  unable  to  govern  yourselves,  and 
you  now  deservedly  feel  all  the  horrors  of  anarchy."  I  beg 
pardon  for  saying  so  much.  1  did  not  intend  it  when  I  be- 
gan. But  the  consideration  of  one  of  the  most  important 
parts  of  the  plan  excited  all  my  feelings  on  the  subject.  I 
speak  without  any  affectation  in  expressing  my  apprehension 
of  foreign  dangers:  the  belief  of  them  is  strongly  impressed 
on  my  mind.  I  hope,  therefore,  the  gentlemen  of  the  com- 
mittee will  excuse  the  warmth  with  which  I  have  spoken. 
I  shall  now  take  leave  of  the  subject.  I  flatter  myself  that 
gentlemen  will  see  that  this  power  is  absolutely  necessary, 
and  must  be  vested  somewhere ;  that  it  can  be  vested  no- 
where so  well  as  in  the  general  government;  and  that  it  is 
guarded  by  the  only  restriction  which  the  nature  of  the  thing 
will  admit  of. 

Mr.  HARDIMAN  desired  to  know,  if  the  people  were 
attacked  or  harassed  in  any  part  of  the  state,  —  if  on  the 
frontiers,  for  instance,  —  whether  they  must  not  apply  to  the 
state  legislature  for  assistance. 

Mr.  IREDELL  replied,  that  he  admitted  that  application 
might  be  immediately  m  ide  to  the  state  legislature,  and  that, 
tiy  the  plan  under  consideration,  the  strength  of  the  Union 
was  to  be  exerted  to  repel  invasions  of  foreign  enemies  and 
suppress  domestic  insurrections  ;  and  that  the  possibilitv  of 

100  DEBATES.  llnwjxL. 

an  instantaneous  and  unexpected  attack,  in  time  of  profound 
peace,  illustrated  the  danger  of  restricting  the  power  of  rais- 
ing and  supporting  armies. 

The  rest  of  the  8th  section  read  without  any  observation* 

1st  clause  of  the  9th  section  read. 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL  wished  to  hear  the  reasons  of  thisi 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  there  was  a  contest  be- 
tween the  Northern  and  Southern  States ;  that  the  Southern 
States,  whose  principal  support  depended  on  the  labor  ot 
slaves,  would  not  consent  to  the  desire  of  the  Northern 
States  to  exclude  the  importation  of  slaves  absolutely  ;  that 
South  Carolina  and  Georgia  insisted  on  this  clause,  as  they 
were  now  in  want  of  hands  to  cultivate  their  lands;  that  in 
the  course  of  twenty  years  they  would  be  fully  supplied  ; 
that  the  trade  would  be  abolished  then,  and  that,  in  the 
mean  time,  some  tax  or  duty  might  be  laid  on. 

Mr.  M'DOWALL  replied,  that  the  explanation  was  just 
Ruch  as  he  expected,  and  by  no  means  satisfactory  to  him, 
and  that  he  looked  upon  it, as  a  very  objectionable  part  of 
the  system. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  rise  to  express  senti- 
ments  similar  to  those  of  the  gentleman  from  Craven.  For 
my  part,  were  it  practicable  to  put  an  end  to  the  importa- 
tion of  slaves  immediately,  it  would  give  me  the  greatest 
pleasure ;  for  it  certainly  is  a  trade  utterly  inconsistent  with 
the  rights  of  humanity,  and  under  which  great  cruelties 
have  been  exercised.  When  the  entire  abolition  of  slavery 
takes  place,  it  will  be  an  event  which  must  be  pleasing  to 
every  generous  mind,  and  every  friend  of  human  nature ;  but 
we  often  wish  for  things  which  are  not  attainable.  It  was 
the  wish  of  a  great  majority  of  the  Convention  to  put  an 
end  to  the  trade  immediately  ;  but  the  states  of  South  Car- 
olina and  Georgia  would  not  agree  to  it.  Consider,  then, 
what  would  be  the  difference  between  our  present  situation 
in  this  respect,  if  we  do  not  agree  to  the  Constitution,  and 
what  it  \vill  be  if  we  do  agree  to  it.  If  we  do  not  agiee 
to  it,  do  we  remedy  the  evil  ?  No,  sir,  we  do  not.  For  if 
the  Constitution  be  not  adopted,  it  will  be  in  the  power  of 
every  state  to  continue  it  forever.  They  may  or  may  no! 
abolish  it,  at  their  discretion.  '  But  if  we  adopt  ♦h**  Con- 
stitution, the  trade  must  cease  after  twenty  years,  it  Con- 

Galloway.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  lOl 

gress  declare  so,  whether  particular  states  please  so  or  not ; 
surely,  then,  we  can  gain  by  it.  This  was  the  urinost  that 
could  be  obtained.  1  heartily  wish  more  could  have  been 
done.  But  as  it  is,  this  government  is  nobly  distinguished 
above  others  by  that  very  provision.  Where  is  there  another 
country  in  which  such  a  restriction  prevails?  We,  there- 
fore, sir,  set  an  example  of  humanity,  by  providing  for  the 
abolition  of  this  inhuman  traffic,  though  at  a  distant  period. 
1  hope,  therefore,  that  this  part  of  the  Constitution  will  not 
be  condemned  because  it  has  not  stipulated  for  what  was 
impracticable  to  obtain. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  further  explained  the  clause.  That  the 
limitation  of  this  trade  to  the  term  of  twenty  years  was  a^ 
compromise  between  the  Eastern  States  and  the  Southern 
States.  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  wished  to  extend  the 
term.  The  Eastern  States  insisted  on  the  entire  abolition 
of  the  trade.  That  the  state  of  North  Carolina  had  not 
thought  proper  to  pass  any  law  prohibiting  the  importation 
of  slaves,  and  therefore  its  delegation  in  the  Convention  did 
not  think  themselves  authorized  to  contend  for  an  immediate 
prohibition  of  it. 

Mr.  IREDELL  added  to  what  he  had  said  before,  that 
the  states  of  Georgia  and  South  Carolina  bad  lost  a  great 
many  slaves  during  the  war,  and  that  they  wished  to  supply 
the  loss. 

Mr.  GALLOWAY.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  explanation  giv- 
en to  this  clause  does  not  satisfy  my  mind.  I  wish  to  see 
this  abominable  trade  put  an  end  to.  But  in  case  it  be 
thought  proper  to  continue  this  abominable  traffic  for  twenty 
years,  yet  I  do  not  wish  to  see  the  tax  on  the  importatioq 
extended  to  all  persons  whatsoever.  Our  situation  is  dif- 
ferent from  the  people  to  the  north.  We  want  citizens; 
they  do  not.  Instead  of  laying  a  tax,  we  ought  to  give  a 
bounty  to  encourage  foreigners  to  come  among  us.  With 
respect  to  the  abolition  of  slavery,  it  requires  the  utmost 
consideration.  The  property  of  the  Southern  States  consists 
principally  of  slaves.  If  they  mean  to  do  away  slavery  al- 
together, this  property  will  be  destroyed.  I  apprehend  it 
means  to  bring  forward  manumission.  If  we  must  manu- 
mit our  slaves,  what  country  shall  we  send  them  to?  It  it 
impossible  for  us  to  be  happy,  if,  after  manumission,  thev 
are  to  stay  amonfr  us. 

102  DEBATES.  [Datib 

Mr.  IREDFLL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  worthy  gentleman, 
I  believe,  has  misunderstood  this  clause,  which  runs  in  the 
following  words :  "  The  migration  or  importation  of  such 
persons  as  any  of  the  states  now  existing  shall  think  ()roper 
to  admit,  shall  not  be  prohibited  by  the  Congress  prior  to 
the  year  1808;  but  a  tax  or  duty  may  be  imposed  on  such 
importation,  not  exceeding  ten  dollars  for  each  person." 
Now,  sir,  observe  that  the  Eastern  States,  who  long  ago 
have  abolished  slaves,  did  not  approve  of  the  expression 
slaves;  they  therefore  used  another,  that  answered  the  same 
purpose.  The  committee  will  observe  the  distinction  be- 
tween the  two  words  migration  and  importation.  The  first 
part  of  the  clause  will  extend  to  persons  who  come  into  this 
country  as  free  people,  or  are  brought  as  slaves.  But  the  last 
part  extends  to  slaves  only.  The  word  migration  refers  to 
free  persons ;  but  the  word  importation  refers  to  slaves,  be- 
cause free  people  cannot  be  said  to  be  imported.  The  tax, 
therefore,  is  only  to  be  laid  on  slaves  who  are  imported,  and 
not  on  free  persons  who  migrate.  I  further  beg  leave  to  say 
that  the  gentleman  is  mistaken  in  another  thing.  He  seems 
to  say  that  this  extends  to  the  abolition  of  slavery.  Is  there 
anything  in  this  Constitution  which  says  that  Congress  shall 
have  it  in  their  power  to  abolish  the  slavery  of  those  slaves 
who  are  now  in  the  country  ?  Is  it  not  the  plain  meaning 
of  it,  that  after  twenty  years  they  may  prevent  the  future 
importation  of  slaves  ?  It  does  not  extend  to  those  now  in 
the  country.  There  is  another  circumstance  to  be  observed. 
There  is  no  authority  vested  in  Congress  to  restrain  the 
states,  in  the  interval  of  twenty  years,  from  doing  what  they 
please.  If  they  wish  to  prohibit  such  importation,  they  may 
do  so.  Our  next  Assembly  may  put  an  entire  end  to  the 
importation  of  slaves. 

The  rest  of  the  9lh  section  read  without  any  observation. 

Article  2d,  section  1st. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  must  express  my  aston 
ishment  at  the  precipitancy  with  which  we  go  through  this 
business.  Is  it  not  highly  improper  to  pass  over  in  silence 
any  part  of  this  Constitution  which  has  been  loudly  objected 
tor  We  go  into  a  committee  to  have  a  freer  discussion.  I 
am  sorry  to  see  gentlemen  hurrying  us  through,  and  sup- 
pressing their  objections,  in  order  to  bring  them  forward  at 
an  unseasonable  hour.     We  are  assembled  here  to  deliberate 

Di?iE.]  NORTH  CAROLINA  103 

for  our  own  common  welfare,  and  to  decide  upon  a  question 
of  infinite  importance  to  our  country.  What  is  the  cause  ol 
this  silence  and  gloomy  jealousy  in  gentlemen  of  the  oppo- 
sition ?  This  department  has  been  universally  objected  tc 
by  them.  The  most  virulent  invectives,  the  most  oppro- 
brious epithets,  and  the  most  indecent  scurrility,  have  been 
used  and  applied  against  this  part  of  the  Constitution.  Ir 
has  been  represented  as  incompatible  with  any  degree  of 
freedom.  Why,  therefore,  do  not  gentlemen  offer  their  ob- 
jections now,  that  we  may  examine  their  force,  if  they  have 
any?  The  clause  meets  my  entire  approbation.  I  only 
rise  to  show  the  principle  on  which  it  was  formed.  The 
principle  is,  the  separation  of  the  executive  from  the  legis- 
lative—  a  principle  which  pervades  all  free  governments. 
A  dispute  arose  in  the  Convention  concerning  the  reeligi- 
bility  of  the  President.  It  was  the  opinion  of  the  deputation 
from  this  state,  that  he  should  be  elected  for  five  or  seven 
years,  and  be  afterwards  ineligible.  It  was  urged,  in  sup- 
port of  this  opinion,  that  the  return  of  public  officers  into  the 
common  mass  of  the  people,  where  they  would  feel  the  tone 
they  had  given  to  the  administration  of  the  laws,  was  the 
best  security  the  public  had  for  their  good  behavior ;  that  it 
would  operate  as  a  limitation  to  his  ambition,  at  the  same 
^ime  that  it  rendered  him  more  independent;  that  when 
once  in  possession  of  that  office,  he  would  move  heaven  and 
earth  to  secure  his  reelection,  and  perhaps  become  the  crin- 
ging dependant  of  influential  men ;  that  our  opinion  was 
supported  by  some  experience  of  the  effects  of  this  principle 
in  several  of  the  states.  A  large  and  very  respectable  ma- 
jority were  of  the  contrary  opinion.  It  was  said  that  such 
an  exclusion  would  be  improper  for  many  reasons ;  that  if 
an  enlightened,  upright  man  had  discharged  the  duties  of 
the  office  ably  and  faithfully,  it  would  be  depriving  the  peo- 
ple of  the  benefit  of  his  ability  and  experience,  though  they 
highly  approved  of  him ;  that  it  would  render  the  President 
less  ardent  in  his  endeavors  to  acquire  the  esteem  and  ap- 
probation of  his  country,  if  he  knew  that  he  would  be  abso- 
lutely excluded  after  a  given  period ;  and  that  it  would  be 
depriving  a  man  of  singular  merit  even  of  the  rights  of  citi 
zenship.  It  was  also  said,  that  the  day  might  come,  when 
the  confidence  of  America  would  be  put  in  one  man,  and 
*hat  it  might  be  dangerous  to  exclude  such  a  man  from  the 

t  U4  DEBAT  ES.  [Sr  Aiort 

service  of  his  country.  It  was  urged,  likewise,  fhat  no  un- 
due influence  could  take  place  in  his  election;  that,  as  he 
was  to  be  elected  on  the  same  day  throughout  the  United 
J^tates,  no  man  could  say  to  himself,  /  am  to  he  the  man. 
tinder  these  considerations,  a  large,  respectable  majority 
voted  for  it  as  it  now  stands.  With  respect  to  the  unity  of 
the  executive,  the  superior  energy  and  secrecy  wherewith 
one  person  can  act,  was  one  of  the  principles  on  which  the 
Convention  went.  But  a  more  predominant  principle  was, 
the  more  obvious  responsibility  of  one  person.  It  was  ob- 
served that,  if  there  were  a  plurality  of  persons,  and  a  crime 
should  be  committed,  when  their  conduct  came  to  be  ex 
amined,  it  would  be  impossible  to  fix  the  fact  on  any  one  of 
them,  but  that  the  public  were  never  at  a  loss  when  there 
was  but  one  man.  For  these  reasons,  a  great  majority  con- 
curred in  the  unity,  and  reeligibility  also,  of  the  executive. 
I  thought  proper  to  show  the  spirit  of  the  deputation  from 
this  state.  However,  I  heartily  concur  in  it  as  it  now  stands, 
and  the  mode  of  his  election  precludes  every  possibility  of 
corruption  or  improper  influence  of  any  kind. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  TAYLOR  thought  it  improper  to  object 
on  every  trivial  case ;  that  this  clause  had  been  argeied  on  in 
some  degree  before,  and  that  it  would  lie  a  useless  waste 
of  time  to  dwell  any  longer  upon  it ;  that  if  they  had  the 
power  of  amending  the  Constitution,  every  part  need  not 
be  discussed,  as  some  were  not  objectionable ;  and  that, 
for  his  own  part,  he  would  object  when  any  essential  defect 
came  before  the  house. 

2d,  3d,  and  4th  clauses  read. 

Mr.  J.  TAYLOR  objected  to  the  power  of  Congress  to 
determine  the  time  of  choosing  the  electors,  and  to  deter- 
n.ine  the  time  of  electing  the  President,  and  urged  that  it 
was  improper  to  have  the  election  on  the  same  day  through- 
cut  the  United  States ;  that  Congress,  not  satisfied  with 
their  power  over  the  time,  place,  and  manner  of  elections  of 
representatives,  and  over  the  time  and  manner  of  elections 
,)f  senators,  and  their  power  of  raising  an  army,  wished  like- 
wise to  control  the  election  of  the  electors  of  the  President , 
that  by  their  army,  and  the  election  being  on  the  same  day 
in  all  the*  states,  they  might  compel  the  electors  to  vote  as 
ti.ey  please. 

Mr  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  the  time  of  choosing  'ihe 

TifLo*.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  |A.tI 

electors  was  to  be  determined  by  Congress,  for  the  sake  ot 
regularity  and  uniformity ;  that,  if  the  states  were  to  deter- 
mine it,  one  might  appoint  it  at  one  day,  and  another  at 
another,  &c. ;  and  that  the  election  being  on  the  same  day 
10  all  the  states,  vvpnld  prevent  a  combination  between  the 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  gives  me  great  aston- 
ishment to  hear  this  objection,  because  I  thought  this  to  be 
a  most  excellent  clause.  Nothing  is  more  necessary  than  to 
prevent  every  danger  of  influence.  Had  the  time  of  election 
been  different  in  diflerent  states,  the  electors  chosen  in  one 
state  might  have  gone  from  state  to  state^  and  conferred 
with  the  other  electors,  and  the  election  might  have  l)een 
thus  carried  on  under  undue  influence.  But  by  this  pro- 
vision, the  electors  must  meet  in  the  different  states  on  the 
same  day,  and  cannot  confer  together.  They  may  not  even 
know  who  are  the  electors  in  the  other  states.  There  can 
be,  therefore,  no  kind  of  combination.  It  is  probable  that 
the  man  who  is  the  olgect  of  the  choice  of  thirteen  different 
states,  the  electors  in  each  voting  unconnectedly  with  the 
rest,  must  be  a  person  who  possesses,  in  a  high  degree,  the 
confidence  and  respect  of  his  country. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  expressed  doubts  with  respect  to  the 
persons  by  whom  the  electors  were  to  be  appointed.  Some, 
he  said,  were  of  opinion  that  the  people  at  large  were  to 
choose  them,  and  others  thought  the  state  legislatures  were 
to  appoint  them. 

Mr.  IREDELL  was  of  opinion  that  it  could  not  be  done 
uith  propriety  by  the  state  legislatures,  because,  as  they 
were  to  direct  the  manner  of  appointing,  a  law  would  look 
very  awkward,  which  should  say,  "  They  gave  the  power  of 
such  appointments  to  themselves." 

Mr.  MACLAINE  thought  the  state  legislatures  might 
direct  the  electors  to  be  chosen  in  what  manner  they  thought 
proper,  and  they  might  direct  it  to  be  done  by  the  people  at 

Mr.  DAVIE  was  of  opinion,  that  it  was  left  to  the  wisdom 
of  the  legislatures  to  direct  their  election  in  whatever  manner 
they  thought  proper. 

Mr.  TAYLOR  still  thought  the  |X)wer  improper  with  re- 
spect to  the  time  of  choosing  the  electors.  This  power  ap- 
peared to  him  to  belong  properly  to  the  state  legislatures; 

VOL.   IV.  14 

106  DEBATES.  [luDKL^ 

nor  could  he  see  any  purpose  it  could  answer  but  that  of  an 
augmentation  of  the  congressional  i)owers,  which,  he  said, 
were  too  great  already  ;  that  by  this  i)ower  they  might  pro- 
long the  elections  to  seven  years,  and  that,  though  this  would 
be  in  direct  opposition  to  another  part  of  the  Constitution, 
sophistry  would  enable  them  to  reconcile  them. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  replied,  that  he  was  surprised  that  the 
gentleman  objected  to  the  power  of  Congress  to  determine 
the  time  of  choosing  the  electors,  and  not  to  that  of  fixing 
tlie  day  of  the  election  of  the  President ;  that  the  power  in 
the  one  case  could  not  possibly  answer  the  purpose  of  uni 
formity  without  having  it  in  the  other ;  that  the  power,  in 
both  cases,  could  be  exercised  properly  only  by  one  general 
superintending  power;  that,  if  Congress  had  not  this  power, 
there  would  be  no  uniformity  at  all,  and  that  a  great  deal  of 
time  would  be  taken  up  in  order  to  agree  upon  the  time. 

Monday,  July  28,  1788. 

The  2d  section  of  the  2d  article  read. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  part  of  the  Con 
stitution  has  been  much  objected  to.  The  office  of  superin- 
tending the  execution  of  the  laws  of  the  Union  is  an  office 
of  the  utmost  importance.  It  is  of  the  greatest  consequence 
to  the  happiness  of  the  people  of  America,  that  the  person  to 
whom  this  great  trust  is  delegated  should  be  worthy  of  it. 
It  would  require  a  man  of  abilities  and  experience  ;  it  would 
also  require  a  man  who  possessed,  in  a  high  degree,  the  con- 
fidence of  his  country.  This  being  the  case,  it  would  be  a 
great  defect,  in  forming  a  constitution  for  the  United  States, 
if  it  was  so  constructed  that,  by  any  accident,  an  improper 
person  could  have  a  chance  to  obtain  that  office.  The  com- 
mittee will  recollect  that  the  President  is  to  be  elected  b^ 
electors  appointed  by  each  state,  according  to  the  number  of 
senators  and  representatives  to  which  the  state  may  be  en- 
titled in  the  Congress ;  that  they  are  to  meet  on  the  same 
day  throughout  the  states,  and  vote  by  ballot  for  two  persons, 
one  of  whom  shall  not  be  an  inhabitant  of  the  same  state  with 
themselves.  These  votes  are  afterwards  to  be  transmitted, 
under  seal,  to  the  seat  of  the  general  government.  The  per- 
son who  has  the  greatest  number  of  votes,  if  it  be  a  majority 
of  the  whole,  will  be  the  President.  If  more  than  one  havti 
a  majority,  and  equal  votes,  the  House  of  Representatives 


are  to  choose  one  of  them.  If  none  have  a  majority  of  votes, 
then  the  House  of  Representatives  are  to  choose  which  of  thu 
persons  they  think  proper,  out  of  the  five  highest  on  the  list. 
The  person  having  ihe  next  greatest  number  of  votes  is  to 
be  the  Vice-President,  unless  two  or  more  should  have  equal 
votes,  in  which  case  the  Senate  is  to  choose  one  of  them  for 
V'ice-President.  If  I  recollect  right,  these  are  the  principal 
characteristics.  Thus,  sir,  two  men  will  be  in  office  at  the 
same  time  ;  the  President,  who  possesses,  in  the  highest  de- 
gree, the  confidence  of  his  country,  and  the  Vice-President, 
who  is  thought  to  be  the  next  person  in  the  Union  most  fit 
to  perform  this  trust.  Here,  sir,  every  contingency  is  pro- 
vided for.  No  faction  or  combination  can  bring  about  the 
election.  It  is  probable  that  the  choice  will  always  fall  U|)on 
a  man  of  experienced  abilities  and  fidelity.  In  all  human 
prob.ibility,  no  better  mode  of  election  could  have  been 

The  rest  of  the  1st  section  read  without  any  observations 

2d  section  read. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  was  in  hopes  that 
some  other  gentleman  would  have  spoken  to  this  clause. 
It  conveys  very  important  powers,  and  ought  not  to  l)e 
passed  by.  I  beg  leave,  in  as  few  words  as  possible,  to  speak 
ray  sentiments  upon  it.  I  believe  most  of  the  governors  of 
the  different  states  have  powers  similar  to  those  of  the  Pres- 
ident. In  almost  every  country,  the  executive  has  the  com- 
mand of  the  military  forces.  From  the  nature  of  the  thing,  the 
command  of  armies  ought  to  be  delegated  to  one  person  only. 
The  secrecy,  despatch,  and  decision,  which  are  necessary  in 
military  operations,  can  only  be  expected  from  one  person. 
The  President,  therefore,  is  to  command  the  military  forces 
of  the  United  States,  and  this  power  I  think  a  proper  one ; 
at  the  same  time  it  will  be  found  to  be  sufficiently  guarded. 
A  very  material  difference  may  be  observed  between  this 
power,  and  the  authority  of  the  king  of  Great  Britain  under 
similar  circumstances.  The  king  of  Great  Britain  is  not 
onlv  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  land  and  naval  forces, 
hut  has  power,  in  time  of  war,  to  raise  fleets  and  armies. 
He  has  also  authority  to  declare  war.  The  President  has 
not  the  power  of  declaring  war  by  his  own  authority,  nor 
that  of  raising  fleets  and  armies.  These  powers  are  vested 
in  other  hands.     The  power  of  declaring  war  is  expressly 

lOe  DEBATES.  [Iredell. 

given  to  Congress,  that  is,  to  the  two  branches  of  the  legi^ 
lature  — ihe  Senate,  composed  of  representatives  of  the  state 
legislatures,  the  House  of  Representatives,  deputed  by  the 
people  at  large.  They  have  also  expressly  delegated  to 
them  the  povrers  of  raising  and  supporting  armies,  and  of 
providing  and  maintaining  a  navy. 

With  regard  to  the  militia,  it  must  be  observed,  that  though 
he  has  the  command  of  them  when  called  into  the  actual 
service  of  the  United  States,  yet  he  has  not  the  power  of 
calling  them  out.  The  power  of  calling  them  out  is  vested 
in  Congress,  for  the  purpose  of  executing  the  laws  of  the 
Union.  When  the  militia  are  called  out  for  any  purpose, 
some  person  must  command  them  ;  and  who  so  proper  as 
that  person  who  has  the  best  evidence  of  his  possessing  the 
general  confidence  of  the  people?  I  trust,  therefore,  that 
the  power  of  commanding  the  militia,  when  called  forth  into 
the  actual  service  of  the  United  States,  will  not  be  object- 
ed to. 

The  next  part,  which  says  "  that  he  may  require  the  opin- 
ion in  writing  of  the  principal  officers,"  is,  in  some  degree, 
substituted  for  a  council.  He  is  only  to  consult  them  if  he 
thinks  proper.  Their  opinion  is  to  be  given  him  in  writing. 
By  this  means  he  will  be  aided  by  their  intelligence  ;  and 
the  necessity  of  their  opinions  being  in  writing,  will  render 
them  more  cautious  in  giving  them,  and  make  them  respon- 
sible should  they  give  advice  manifestly  improper.  This 
does  not  diminish  the  responsibility  of  the  President  himself. 

They  might  otherwise  have  colluded,  and  opinions  have 
been  given  too  much  under  his  influence. 

it  has  l)een  the  opinion  of  many  gentlemen,  that  the  Pres- 
ident should  have  a  council.  This  opinion,  probably,  has 
been  derived  from  the  example  in  England.  It  would  be 
very  proper  for  every  gentleman  to  consider  attentively 
whether  that  example  ought  to  be  imitated  by  us.  Although 
it  be  a  respectable  example,  yet,  in  my  opinion,  very  satis- 
factory reas')ns  can  be  assigned  for  a  de|)arture  from  it  in 
this  Constitution. 

It  was  very  difficult,  immediately  on  our  separation  from 
Great  Britain,  to  disengage  ourselves  entirely  from  ideas  of 
government  we  had  been  used  to.  We  had  been  accustomed 
to  a  council  under  the  old  government,  and  took  it  for 
granted  we  ought  to  have  one  under  the   new.     But  ex- 


^mples  ought  not  to  be  implicitly  followed ;  and  the  feasants 
'^vhich  prevail  in  Great  Britain  for  a  council  do  not  apply 
^ually  to  us.     In  that  country,  the  executive  authority  is 
nested  in  a  magistrate  who  holds  it  by  birthright.     He  has 
l^reat    powers   and    prerogatives,  and  it    is  a  constitutional 
maxim,  that  he  can  do  no  wrong.     We  have   experienced 
that  he  can  do  wrong,  yet  no  man  can  say  so  in  his  okvu 
country.     There  are    no  courts    to   try  him    for   any  high 
crimes ;  nor  is  there  any  constitutional  method  of  depriving 
him  of  his  throne.     If  he  loses  it,  it  must  be  by  a  general 
resistance  of  his  people,  contrary  to  forms  of  law,  as  at  the 
revolution  which  took  place  about  a  hundred  years  ago.     It 
is,  therefore,  of  the  utmost  moment  in  that  country,  that 
whoever  is  the  instrument  of  any  act  of  government  should 
be  personally  responsible  for  it,  since  the  king  is  not ;  and, 
for  the  same  reason,  that  no  act  of  government  should  be 
exercised  but  by  the  instrumentality  of  some  person  who  can 
be  accountable  for  it.     Every  thing,  therefore,  that  the  king 
does,  must  be  by  some  advice^  and  the  adviser  of  course 
answerable.     Under  our  Constitution  we  are  much  happier. 
No  man  has  an  authority  to  injure  another  with  impunity. 
No  man  is  better  than  his  fellow-citizens,  nor  cm  pretend  to 
any  superiority  over  the  meanest  man  in  the  country.     If  the 
President  does  a  sinde  act  by  which  the  people  are  preju- 
diced, he  is  punishable  himself,  and  no  other  man  merely 
10  screen  him.     If  he  commits  any  misdemeanor  in  office,  he 
is  impeachable,  removable  from  office,  and  incapacitated  to 
hold  any  office  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit.     If  he  commits  any 
crime,  he  is  punishable  by  the  laws  of  his  country,  and  in 
capital   cases  may  be  deprived  of  his  life.     This  being  the 
case,  there  is  not  the  same  reason  here  for  having  a  council 
which  exists  in  England.     It  is,  however,  much  to  be  desired, 
that  a  man  who  has  such  extensive  and  important  business 
to  perform  should  have   the   means  of  some  assistance  to 
enable   him    to  discharge    his   arduous   employment.     The 
advice  of  the  principal  executive  officers,  which  he  can  at  all 
tiaies  command,  will,  in  my  opinion,  answer  this  valuable 
Purpose.     He  can  at  no  time  want  advice,  if  he  desires  it, 
as  the  principal  officers  will  always  be  on  the  spot.     Those 
officers,  from  their  abilities  and  experience,  will  probably  be 
able  to  give  as  good,  if  not  better,  advice  than  any  coun- 
sellors would  do  ;  and  the  solemnity  of  the  advice  in  writing, 


110  DEBATES.  [Iredell 

which  must  be  preserved,  would   be  a  great   check   upon  m 

Besides  these  considerations,  it  was  difficult  for  the  Con-  — 
vention  to  prepare  a  council  that  would  be  unexceptionable. « 
That  jealousy  which  naturally  exists  between  the  difTerentJ 
states  enhanced  this  difficulty.     If  a  few  counsellors  were^^ 
tolHj  chosen  from  the  Northern,  Southern,  or  Middle  States, «« 
or  from  a  few  states  only,  undue  preference  might  be  given  m 
to  those  particular  states  from  which  they  should  come.     If,  -. 
to  avoid  this  difficulty,  one  counsellor  should  be  sent  from  - 
each   state,  this   would  require  great  expense,  which  is   a. 
consideration,  at  this  time,  of  much  moment,  especially  as  it 
is  probable  that,   by  the    method   proposed,  the    President 
may  be  equally  well  advised  without  any  expense  at  all. 

We  ought  also  to  consider  that,  had  he  a  council  by  whose 
advice  he  was  l)ound  to  act,  his  responsibility,  in  all  such 
cases,  must  be  destroyed.  You  surely  would  not  oblige  him 
to  follow  their  advice,  and  punish  him  for  obeying  it.  If 
called  upon  on  any  occasion  of  dislike,  it  would  be  natural 
for  him  to  say,  "  You  know  my  council  are  men  of  integrity 
and  ability:  I  could  not  act  against  their  opinions,  though 
I  confess  my  own  was  contrary  to  theirs."  This,  sir,  would 
be  pernicious.  In  such  a  situation,  he  might  easily  combine 
with  his  council,  and  it  might  be  impossible  to  fix  a  fact 
upon  him.  It  would  be  difficult  often  to  know  whether  the 
President  or  counsellors  were  most  to  blame.  A  thousand 
plausible  excuses  might  be  made,  which  would  escape  de- 
tection. But  the  method  proposed  in  the  Constitution 
creates  no  such  embarrassment.  It  is  plain  and  open. 
And  thiB  President  will  personally  have  the  credit  of  good, 
or  the  censure  of  bad  measures ;  since,  though  he  may  ask 
advice,  he  is  to  use  his  own  judgment  in  following  or  re- 
jecting it.  For  all  these  reasons,  I  am  clearly  of  opinion  that 
the  clause  is  better  as  it  stands  than  if  the  President  were 
to  have  a  council.  I  think  every  good  that  can  be  derived 
from  the  institution  of  a  council  may  be  expected  from  the 
advice  of  these  officers,  without  its  being  liable  to  the  dis- 
advantages to  which,  it  appears  to  me,  the  institution  of  a 
council  would  be. 

Another  power  that  he  has  is  to  grant  pardons,  except  in 
rases  of  impeachment.  I  believe  it  is  the  sense  of  a  great 
part  of  America,  that  this  power  should  be  exercised  by  their 

Ibcdei.1^]  north   CAROLINA  111 

governors.     It   is   in   several    states  on    the    same    footing 
that  it  is  here.     It  is  the  genius  of  a  republican  government 
that    tlie  laws  should  be  rigidly  executed,  without  the  in- 
fluence of  favor  or  ill-will  —  that,  when  a  man  commits  a 
crime,  however  powerful  he  or  his  friends  may  be,  yet  he 
should  be   punished  for  it ;  and,  on  the  otheV  hand,  though 
he  should  be  universally  hated  by  his  country,  his  real  guilt 
alone,  as  to  the  particular  charge,  is  to  operate  against  him. 
This  strict  and  scrupulous  observance  of  justice  is  proper  in 
all   governments;   but  it  is  particularly  indispensable  in  a 
republican  one,  because,  in  such  a  government,  the  law  is 
superior  to  every  man,  and  no  man  is  superior  to  another. 
But,  though  this  general  principle  be  unquestionable,  surely 
there  .is  no  gentleman  in   the  committee  who  is Miot  aware 
that  there  ought  to  be  exceptions  to  it ;  because  there  may 
be  many  instances  where,  though  a  man  offends  against  the 
letter  of  the  law,  yet  peculiar  circumstances  in  his  case  may 
entitle   him  to  mercy.     It  is  impossible  for  any  general  law 
to  foresee  and   provide  for  all  possible  cases  that  may  arise ; 
and  therefore  an  inflexible  adherence  to  it,  in  every  instance, 
might  frequently  be  the  cause  of  very  great  injustice.     For 
this   reason,  such  a  power  ought  to  exist  somewhere  ;  and 
where  could  it  be  more  properly  vested,  than  in  a  man  who 
had  received  such  strong  proofs  of  his  possessing  the  highest 
confidence  of  the  people  ?     This  power,  however,  only  refers 
to   offences   against   the    United   States,    and    not   against 
particular  states.     Another   reason  for  the    President  pos- 
sessing this  authority,  is  this :  it  is  often  necessary  to  convict 
a  man  by  means  of  his  accomplices.     We  have  sufficient 
experience  of  that  in  this  country.     A  criminal  would  often 
go  unpunished,  were  not  this  method  to  be  pursued  against 
iiim.     in   my  opinion,  till  an  accomplice's  own  danger  is 
removed,   his   evidence   ought  to  be   regarded    with    great 
diffidence.     If,  in   civil   causes  of  property,  a  witness  must 
be  entirely  disinterested,  how  much   more   proper  is  it  he 
should  be   so  in  cases  of  life  and  death !     This  power  is 
naturally  vested  in  the  President,  because  it  is  his  duty  tn 
watch  over  the  public  safety ;  and  as  that  may  frequently 
require  the  evidence  of  accomplices  to  bring  great  offenders 
to-  justice,  he  ought  to  be  intrusted  with  the  most  effectual 
means  of  procuring  it. 
I  heg  leave  further  to  observe,  that,  for  another  reason,  I 

1 12  DEBATES.  [Iaedell. 

think  there  is  a  propriety  in  leaving  this  power  to  the  general 
discretion  of  the  executive  magistrate,  rather  than  to  fetter 
it  in  any  manner  which  has  been  pro})ose<L     It  may  happen 
that  many  men,  u|)on  plausible  pretences,  may  be  seduced 
into  very  dangerous  measures  against  their  country.     They 
may  aim,  by  an  insurrection,  to  redress  imaginary  grievances, 
at  the  same  time  believing,  upon  false  suggestions,  that  their 
exertions  are  necessary  to  save  their  country  from  destruc- 
tion.    Upon  cool  reflection,  however,  they  |)ossibly  are  con- 
vinced of  their  error,  and  clearly  see  through  the  treachery 
and  villany  of  their  leaders.     In  this  situation,  if  the  Presi- 
dent possessed  the  power  of  pardoning,  they  probably  would 
throw  themselves  on  the  equity  of  the  government,  and  the 
whole  body  be  peaceably  broken  up.     Thus,  at  a  critical 
moment,  the  President  might,  perhaps,  prevent  a  civil  war. 
But  if  there  was  no  authority  to  pardon,    in  that  delicate 
exigency,  what  would  be  the  consequence  ?     The  principle 
of  self-preservation  would  prevent  their  parting.     Would  it 
not  be  natural  for  them  to  say,  "We  shall  be  punished  if  we 
disband.     Were  we  sure  of  mercy,  we  would  peaceably  part. 
But  we  know  not  that  there  is  any  chance  of  this.     We 
may  as  well  meet  one  kind  of  death  as  another.     We  may 
as  well  die  in  the  field  as  at  the  gallows."     I  therefore  sub- 
mit to  the  committee  if  this  power  be  not  highly  necessary 
for  such  a  purpose. 

We  have  seen  a  happy  instance  of  the  good  effect  of  such 
an  exercise  of  mercy  in  the  state  of  Massachusetts,  where, 
very  lately,  there  was  so  formidable  an  insurrection.  I  be- 
lieve a  great  majority  of  the  insurgents  were  drawn  into  it 
by  false  artifices.  They  at  length  saw  their  error,  and  were 
willing  to  disband.  Government,  by  a  wise  exercise  of  len- 
ity, after  having  shown  its  power,  generally  granted  a  pardon  ; 
and  the  whole  party  were  dispersed.  There  is  now  as  much 
peace  in  that  country  as  in  any  state  in  the  Union. 

A  particular  instance  which  occurs  to  me  shows  the  utility 
of  this  power  very  strongly.  Suppose  we  were  involved  in 
war.  It  would  be  then  necessary  to  know  the  designs  of 
the  enemy.  This  kind  of  knowledge  cannot  always  be  pro- 
cured but  by  means  of  spies  —  a  set  of  wretches  whom  all 
nations  despise,  but  whom  all  employ  ;  and,  as  they  would 
assuredly  be  used  against  us,  a  principle  of  self-defence 
would  urge  and  justify  the  use  of  them  on  our  part.     Sup- 

Iredell,]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  113 

pose,  therefore,  the  President  could  prevail  upon  a  man  of 
some  importance  to  go  over  to  the  enemy,  in  order  to  give  him 
secret  information  of  his  measures.  He  got^s  off  privately 
to  the  enemy.  He  feigns  resentment  against  his  country 
for  some  ill  usage,  either  real  or  pretended,  and  is  received, 
possibly,  into  favor  and  confidence.  The  people  would  not 
know  the  purpose  for  which  he  was  employed.  In  the  mean 
time,  he  secretly  informs  the  President  of  the  enemy's  de- 
signs, and  by  this  means,  perhaps,  those  designs  are  counter- 
acted, and  the  country  saved  from  destruction.  After  bis 
business  is  executed,  he  returns  into  his  own  country, 
where  the  people,  not  knowing  he  had  rendered  them  any 
service,  are  naturally  exasperated  against  him  for  his  sup- 
posed treason.  I  would  ask  any  gentleman  whether  the 
President  ought  not  to  have  the  power  of  pardoning  this 
man.  Suppose  the  concurrence  of  the  Senate,  or  any  other 
body,  was  necessary ;  would  this  obnoxious  person  be  prop- 
erly safe  ?  We  know  in  every  country  there  is  a  strong 
prejudice  against  the  executive  authority.  If  a  prejudice  of 
this  kind,  on  such  an  occasion,  prevailed  against  the  Presi- 
dent, the  President  might  be  suspected  of  being  influenced 
by  corrupt  motives,  and  the  application  in  favor  of  this  man 
be  rejected.  Such  a  thing  might  very  possibly  happen  when 
the  prejudices  of  party  were  strong ;  and  therefore  no  man, 
so  clearly  entitled  as  in  the  case  I  have  supposed,  ought  to 
have  his  life  exposed  to  so  hazardous  a  contingency. 

The  power  of  impeachment  is  given  by  this  Constitution, 
to  bring  great  offenders  to  punisliment.  It  is  calculated  to 
bring  them  to  punishment  for  crime  which  it  is  not  easy  to 
describe,  but  which  every  one  must  be  convinced  is  a  high 
crime  and  misdemeanor  against  the  government.  This 
power  is  lodged  in  those  who  represent  the  great  body  of 
the  people,  because  the  occasion  for  its  exercise  will  arise 
from  acts  of  great  injury  to  the  community,  and  the  objects 
of  it  may  be  such  as  cannot  be  easily  reached  by  an  ordina- 
ry tribunal.  The  trial  belongs  to  the  Senate,  lest  an  inferior 
tribunal  should  be  too  much  awed  by  so  powerful  an  accuser. 
After  trial  thus  solemnly  conducted,  it  is  not  probable  that 
it  would  happen  once  in  a  thousand  times,  that  a  man  actu- 
ally convicted  would  be  entitled  to  mercy ;  and  if  the  Presi- 
dent had  the  power  of  pardoning  in  such  a  case,  this  great 
check  upon  high  officers  of  state  would  lose  much  of  its  in- 

VOL.  IV.  15 

114  DEBATES.  [Sfaigbt 

fluenct^.  It  seems,  therefore,  proper  that  the  general  power 
of  pardoning  should  be  abridged  in  this  particular  instance. 
The  punishment  annexed  to  this  conviction  on  impeachment 
can  only  be  removal  from  office,  and  disqualification  to  bold 
any  place  of  honor,  trust,  or  profit.  But  the  person  convict- 
ed is  further  liable  to  a  trial  at  common  law,  and  may  receive 
such  common-law  punishment  as  belongs  to  a  description  of 
such  offiinces,  if  it  be  punishable  by  that  law.  I  hope,  for 
the  reasons  I  have  stated,  that  the  whole  of  this  clause  will 
be  approved  by  the  committee.  The  regulations  altogether, 
in  my  opinion,  are  as  wisely  contrived  as  they  could  be.  It 
is  impossible  for  imperfect  beings  to  form  a  perfect  system. 
If  the  present  one  may  be  productive  of  possible  inconve- 
niences, we  are  not  to  reject  it  for  that  reason,  but  inquire 
whether  any  other  system  could  be  devised  which  would  be 
attended  with  fewer  inconveniences,  in  proportion  to  the 
advantages  resulting.  But  we  ought  to  be  exceedingly  at- 
tentive in  examining,  and  still  more  cautious  in  deciding,  lest 
we  should  condemn  what  may  be  worthy  of  applause,  or 
approve  of  what  may  be  exceptionable.  I  hope  that,  in  the 
iixplanation  of  this  clause,  I  have  not  improperly  taken  up 
«he  time  of  the  committee. 

Mr.  MILLER  acknowledged  that  the  explanation  of  this 
ilause  by  the  member  from  Edenton  had  obviated  some  ob- 
jections which  he  had  to  it ;  but  still  he  could  .not  entirely 
approve  of  it.  He  could  not  see  the  necessity  of  vesting 
this  power  in  the  President.  He  thought  that  his  influence 
would  be  too  great  in  the  country,  and  particularly  over  the 
military,  by  bc»ing  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  army,  navy, 
and  militia.  He  thought  he  could  too  easily  abuse  such  ex- 
tensive powers,  and  was  of  opinion  that  Congress  ought  to 
have  |K)wer  to  direct  the  motions  of  the  army.  He  consid- 
ered it  as  a  defect  in  the  Constitution,  that  it  was  not  ex- 
pressly provided  that  Congress  should  have  the  direction  of 
the  motions  of  the  army. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered,  that  it  was  true  that  the  com- 
mand of  the  army  and  navy  was  given  to  the  President ; 
but  that  Congress,  who  had  the  power  of  raising  armies, 
could  certainly  prevent  any  abuse  of  that  authority  in  the 
President  —  that  they  alone  had  the  means  of  supporting 
armies,  and  that  the  President  was  impc^achabh*  if  he  in  any 
manner  abused  his  trust.     He  was  surprised  that  any  objec- 

JoemyroN.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  116 

tion  should  be  made  to  giving  the  command  of  the  army  to 

one  man ;  that  it  was  well  known  that  the  direction  of  an 
army  could  not  be  properly  exercised  by  a  numerous  liody 
of  men ;  that  Congress  had,  in  the  last  war,  given  the  ex- 
clusive command  of  the  army  to  the  commander-in-chief, 
and  that  if  they  had  not  done  so,  perhaps  the  independence 
of  America  would  not  have  been  established. 

Mr.  PORTER.  Mr.  Chairman,  there  is  a  power  vested 
in  the  Senate  and  President  to  make  treaties,  which  shall  l)e 
the  supreme  law  of  the  land.  Which  among  us  can  call 
them  to  account  ?  I  always  thought  that  there  could  be  no 
proper  exercise  of  power  without  the  suffrage  of  the  people ; 
yet  the  House  of  Representatives  has  no  power  to  intermed- 
dle with  treaties.  The  President  and  seven  senators,  as 
nearly  as  I  can  remember,  can  make  a  treaty  which  will  be 
of  great  advantage  to  the  Northern  States,  and  equal  injury 
to  the  Southern  States.  They  might  give  up  the  rivers  and 
territory  of  the  Southern  States.  Yet,  in  the  preamble  of 
(he  Constitution,  they  say  all  tiie  people  have  done  it.  I 
should  be  glad  to  know  what  power  there  is  of  calling  the 
President  and  Senate  to  account. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT  answered  that,  under  the  Confederation, 
two  thirds  of  the  states  might  make  treaties;  that,  if  the 
senators  from  all  the  states  attended  when  a  treaty  was 
about  to  be  made,  two  thirds  of  the  states  would  have  a 
voice  in  its  formation.  He  added,  that  he  would  be  glad  to 
ask  the  gentleman  what  mode  there  was  of  calling  the  pres- 
ent Congress  to  account. 

Mr.  PORTER  repeated  his  objection.     He  hoped  thai 
gentlemen  would  not  impose  on  the  house ;  that  the  Presi 
dent  could  make  treaties  with  two   thirds   of  the  senate  < 
that  the  President,  in  that  case,  voted  rather  in  a  legislative 
than  in  an  executive  capacity,  which  he  thought  impolitic. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  in  my  opinion,  if 
there  be  any  difference  between  this  Constitution  and  the 
Confederation,  with  respect  to  treaties,  the  Constitution  is 
more  safe  than  the  Confederation.  We  know  that  two 
members  from  each  state  have  a  right,  by  the  Conf(?deration, 
to  give  the  vote  of  that  state,  and  two  thirds  of  the  states 
have  a  right  also  to  make  treaties.  By  this  Constitution, 
'wo  thirds  of  the  senators  cannot  make  treaties  without  the 
toQcunrence  of  the  President.     Here  is,  then,  an  additional 

lit  DEBATES.  [Spencer. 

guard.  The  calculation  that  seven  or  eight  senators,  with 
the  President,  can  make  treaties,  is  totally  erroneous.  Four- 
teen is  a  quorum ;  two  thirds  of  which  are  ten.  It  is  upon 
the  improbable  supposition  that  they  will  not  attend,  that 
the  objection  is  founded  that  ten  men,  with  the  President, 
can  make  treaties.  Can  it  Ire  reasonably  supposed  that 
they  will  not  attend  when  the  most  important  business  is 
agitated  —  when  the  interests  of  their  respective  states  are 
most  immediately  affected  ? 

Mr.  MACLAINE  observed,  that  the  gentleman  was  out 
of  order  with  his  objection  —  that  they  had  not  yet  come  to 
the  clause  which  enables  the  Senate  and  President  to  make 

The  2d  clause  of  the  2d  section  read. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  rise  to  declare  my 
disapprobation  of  this,  likewise.  It  is  an  essential  article  in 
our  Constitution,  that  the  legislative,  the  executive,  and  the 
supreme  judicial  powers,  of  government,  ought  to  be  forever 
separate  and  distinct  from  each  other.  The  Senate,  in  the 
proposed  government  of  the  United  States,  are  possessed 
of  the  legislative  authority  in  conjunction  with  the  House 
of  Representatives.  They  are  likewise  possessed  of  the  sole 
power  of  trying  all  impeachments,  which,  not  being  re- 
strained to  the  officers  of  the  United  States,  may  be  in- 
tended to  include  all  the  officers  of  the  several  states  in 
the  Union.  And  by  this  clause  they  possess  the  chief  of 
the  executive  power ;  they  are,  in  effect,  to  form  treaties, 
which  are  to  be  the  law  of  the  land  ;  and  they  have  obvi- 
ously, in  effect,  the  appointment  of  all  the  officers  of  the 
United  Stales.  The  President  may  nominate,  but  they 
have  a  negative  u])on  his  nomination,  till  he  has  exhausted 
the  number  of  those  he  wishes  to  be  appointed.  He  will 
be  obliged,  finally,  to  acquiesce  in  the  appointment  of  those 
whom  the  Senate  shall  nominate,  or  else  no  appointment 
will  take  place.  Hence  it  is  easy  to  perceive  that  the  Presi- 
dent, in  order  to  do  any  business,  or  to  answer  any  purpose 
in  this  department  of  his  office,  and  to  keep  himself  out  of 
perpetual  hot  water,  will  be  under  a  necessity  to  form  a 
connection  with  that  powerful  body,  and  be  contented  to 
()ut  himself  at  the  head  of  the  leading  members  who  com- 
pose it.  I  do  not  expect,  at  this  day,  that  the  outline  and 
organization  of  this  proposed  government  will  be  materially 

SwitcBm.1  NORTH  CAROLINA.  117 

altered.     But  I  cannot  but  be  of  opinion  that  the  govern- 
ment would  have  been  infinitely  better  and  more  secure,  if 
the  President  had   been  provided  with  a  standing  council, 
composed  of  one  member  from  each  of  the  states,  the  dura- 
tion of  whose  office  might  have  been   the  same  as  that  of 
the  President's  office,  or  for  any  other  period  that  might 
have   been  thought  more  proper ;  for  it  can   hardly  be  sup- 
posed, if  two  senators  can  be  sent  from  each  state,  who  are 
fit  to  give  counsel  to  the  President,  that  one  such  cannot 
be  found  in  each  state  qualified  for  that  purpose.     Upon  this 
plan,  one  half  the  expense  of  the   Senate,  as  a  standing 
council   to  the  President  in  the  recess  of  Congress,  would 
evidently  be  saved ;  each  state  would   have  equal  weight  in 
this  council,  as  it  has  now  in  the  Senate.     And  what  ren- 
ders this  plan  the  more  eligible  is,  that  two  very  important  con- 
sequences would  result  from  it,  which  cannot  result  from  the 
present  plan.     The  first  is,  that  the  whole  executive  de- 
partment, being  separate  and  distinct  from  that  of  the  legis- 
lative and  judicial,  would  be  amenable  to  the  justice  of  the 
land :  the  President  and  his  council,  or  either  or  any  of 
them,  might  be  impeached,  tried,  and  condemned,  for  any 
misdemeanor  in  office.     Whereas,  on  the  present  plan  pro- 
posed,  the   Senate,  who  are  to  advise  the  President,  and 
who,  in  effect,  are  possessed  of  the  chief  executive  powers, 
let  their  conduct  be  what  it  will,  are  not  amenable  to  the 
public  justice  of  their  country :  if  they  may  be  impeached, 
ihere  is  no  tribunal  invested  with  jurisdiction  to  try  them. 
It  is^rue  that  the  proposed  Constitution  provides  that,  when 
the  President  is  tried,  the  chief  justice  shall  preside.     But 
1  take  this  to  be  very  little  more  than  a  farce.     What  can 
the  Senate  try  him  for  ?     For  doing  that  which  they  have 
advised  him  to  do,  and  which,  without  their  advice,  he  would 
not  have  done.      Except  what  he  may  do  in  a  military  ca- 
pacity—  when,  I  presume,  he  will  be  entitled  to  be  tried  by 
a  court  martial  of  general  officers  —  he  can  do  nothing  in  the 
executive  department  without  the  advice  of  the  Senate,  un- 
less it  be  to  grant  pardons,  and  adjourn  the  two  Houses  of 
Congress  to  some  day  to  which  they  cannot  agree  to  adjourn 
themselves  —  probably   to   some    term    that   may   be   con- 
venient to  the  leading  members  of  the  Senate. 

I  cannot  conceive,  therefore,  that  the  President  can  evci 
he  tried  by  the  Senate  with  any  effect,  or  to  any  purpose 


fm  an  J  misdemeanor  in  his  office,  unless  it  should  extend 
to  high  treason,  or  unless  they  should  wish  to  fix  the  odium 
of  any  measure  on  him,  in  order  to  exculpate  themselves ; 
the  latter  of  which  I  cannot  suppose  will  ever  happen. 

Another  important  consequence  of  the  plan  I  wish  had 
taken  place  is  that,  the  office  of  the  President  being  thereby 
unconnected  with  that  of  the  legislative,  as  well  as  the 
judicial,  he  would  have  that  independence  which  is  necessary 
to  form  the  intended  check  upon  the  acts  passed  by  the  legis- 
lature before  they  obtain  the  sanction  of  laws.  But,  on  the 
present  plan,  from  the  necessary  connection  of  the  Presi- 
dent's office  with  that  of  the  Senate,  I  have  little  ground  to 
hope  that  his  firmness  will  long  prevail  against  the  over- 
bearing power  and  influence  of  the  Senate,  so  far  as  to 
answer  the  purpose  of  any  considerable  check  upon  the  acts 
they  may  think  proper  to  pass  in  conjunction  with  the 
House  of  Representatives ;  for  he  will  soon  find  that,  un- 
less he  inclines  to  compound  with  them,  they  can  easily 
hinder  and  control  him  in  the  principal  articles  of  his  office. 
But,  if  nothing  else  could  be  said  in  favor. of  the  plan  of  a 
standing  council  to  the  President,  independent  of  the  Sen* 
ate,  the  dividing  the  power  of  the  latter  would  be  sufficient 
to  recommend  it ;  it  being  of  the  utmost  importance  to- 
wards the  security  of  the  government,  and  the  liberties  of 
the  citizens  under  it.  For  I  think  it  must  be  obvious  to 
every  unprejudiced  mind,  that  the  combining  in  the  Senate 
the  power  of  legislation,  with  a  controlling  share  in  the  ap- 
pointment of  all  the  officers  of  the  United  States,  (eJcept 
those  chosen  by  the  people,)  and  the  power  of  trying  all 
impeachments  that  may  be  found  against  such  officers,  in- 
vests the  Senate  at  once  with  such  an  enormity  of  power, 
and  with  such  an  overbearing  and  uncontrollable  influence, 
as  is  incompatible  with  every  idea  of  safety  to  the  liberties 
of  a  free  country,  and  is  calculated  to  swallow  up  all  othe* 
powers,  and  to  render  that  body  a  despotic  aristocracy. 

Mr.  PORTER  recommended  the  most  serious  consider- 
ation when  they  were  about  to  give  away  power;  that  they 
were  not  only  about  to  give  away  power  to  legislate  or  make 
laws  of  a  supreme  nature,  and  to  make  treaties,  which  might 
sacrifice  the  most  valuable  interests  of  the  community,  but 
to  give  a  power  to  the  general  government  to  drag  the  in- 
habitants to  any  part  of  the  world  as  long  as  they  pleased : 

DiT«.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  11  J) 

that  they  ought  not  to  put  it  in  the  power  ot  any  man,  or 
any  set  of  men,  to  do  so;  and  that  the  representation  was 
detective,  being  not  a  substantial,  immediate  representation. 
He  observed  that,  as  treaties  were  the  supreme  law  of  the 
land,  the  House  of  Representatives  ought  to  have  a  vote  in 
making  them,  as  well  as  in  passing  them. 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman :  permit  me,  sir, 
to  make  a  few  observations,  to  show  how  improper  it  is  to 
place  so  much  power  in  so  few  men,  without  any  responsi- 
bility whatever.  Let  us  consider  what  number  of  them  is 
necessary  to  transact  the  most  important  business.  Two 
thirds  of  the  members  present,  with  the  President,  can  make 
a  treaty.  Fourteen  of  them  are  a  quorum,  two  thirds  of 
which  are  ten.  These  ten  may  make  treaties  and  alliances. 
They  may  involve  us  in  any  difficulties,  and  dispose  of  us  in 
any  manner,  they  please.  Nay,  eight  is  a  majority  of  a 
quorum,  and  can  do  every  thing  but  make  treaties.  How 
unsafe  are  we,  when  we  have  no  power  of  bringing  those  to 
an  account !  It  is  absurd  to  try  them  before  their  own  body. 
Our  lives  and  property  are  in  the  hands  of  eight  or  nine  men. 
Will  these  gentlemen  intrust  their  rights  in  this  manner? 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  although  treaties  are  mere 
conventional  acts  between  the  contracting  parties,  yet,  by 
the  law  of  nations,  they  are  the  supreme  law  of  the  land  to 
their  respective  citizens  or  subjects.  All  civilized  nations 
have  concurred  in  considering  them  as  paramount  to  an 
ordinary  act  of  legislation.  This  concurrence  is  founded  on 
the  reciprocal  convenience  and  solid  advantages  arising  from 
it.  A  due  observance  of  treaties  makes  nations  more  friendly 
to  each  other,  and  is  the  only  means  of  rendering  less  fre 
quent  those  mutual  hostilities  which  tend  to  depopulate  and 
min  contending  nations.  It  extends  and  facilitates  that 
commercial  intercourse,  which,  founded  on  the  universal 
protection  of  private  property,  has,  in  a  measure,  made  the 
world  one  nation. 

The  power  of  making  treaties  has,  in  all  countries  and 
governments,  been  placed  in  the  executive  departments. 
This  has  not  only  been  grounded  on  the  necessity  and  reason 
arising  from  that  degree  of  secrecy,  design,  and  despatch, 
which  is  always  necessary  in  negotiations  between  nations, 
but  to  prevent  their  being  impeded,  or  carried  into  effect, 
by  the  violence,  animosity,  and  heat  of  parties,  which  too 

120  DEBATES.  TDavik 

often  infect  numerous  bodies.  Both  of  these  reasons  pre- 
ponderated in  the  foundation  of  this  part  of  the  system.  It 
IS  true,  sir,  that  the  late  treaty  between  the  United  States 
and  Great  Britain  has  not,  in  some  of  the  states,  been  held 
as  the  supreme  law  of  the  land.  Even  in  this  state,  an  act 
of  Asseml)ly  passed  to  declare  its  validity.  But  no  doubt 
that  treaty  was  the  supreme  law  of  the  land  without  the 
sanction  of  the  Assembly;  because,  by  the  Confederation, 
Congress  had  [)Ower  to  make  treaties.  It  was  one  of  those 
original  rights  of  sovereignty  which  were  vested  in  them; 
and  it  was  not  the  deficiency  of  constitutional  authority  in 
Congress  to  make  treaties  that  produced  the  necessity  of  a 
law  to  declare  their  validity ;  but  it  was  owing  to  the  entire 
imbecility  of  the  Confederation. 

On  the  principle  of  the  propriety  of  vesting  this  power  in 
the  executive  department,  it  would  st»em  that  the  whole 
power  of  making  treaties  ought  to  be  left  to  the  President, 
who,  being:  elected  by  the  people  of  the  United  States  at 
large,  will  have  their  general  interest  at  heart.  But  that 
jealousy  of  executive  power  which  has  shown  itself  so 
strongly  in  all  the  American  governments,  would  not  admit 
this  improvement.  Interest,  sir,  has  a  most  powerful  influ- 
ence over  the  human  mind,  and  is  the  basis  on  which  all  the 
transactions  of  mankind  are  built.  It  was  mentioned  before 
that  the  extreme  jealousy  of  the  little  states,  and  between 
the  commercial  states  and  the  non-importing  states,  pro- 
duced the  necessity  of  giving  an  equality  of  suffrage  to  the 
Senate.  The  same  causes  made  it  indispensable  to  give  to 
the  senators,  as  representatives  of  states,  the  power  of 
making,  or  rather  ratifying,  treaties.  Although  it  militates 
against  every  idea  of  just  proportion  that  the  little  state  of 
Rhode  Island  should  have  the  same  suffrage  with  Virginia, 
or  the  great  commonwealth  of  Massachusetts,  yet  the  small 
states  would  not  consent  to  confederate  without  an  equal 
voice  in  the  formation  of  treaties.  Without  the  equality, 
they  apprehended  that  their  interest  would  be  neglected  or 
sacrificed  in  negotiations.  This  difficulty  could  not  be  got 
over.  It  arose  from  the  unalterable  nature  of  things.  Every- 
man was  convinced  of  the  inflexibility  of  the  little  states  in 
this  point.  It  therefore  became  necessary  to  give  them  an 
absolute  equality  in  making  treaties. 

The  learned  gentleman  on  my  right,  (Mr.  Spencer,)  atte*- 

Datie.]  north   CAROUNA.  121 

saying  that  this  was  an  enormous  power,  and  that  blending 
♦he  different  branches  of  government  was  dangerous,  said, 
that  such  accumulated  powers  were  inadmissible,  and  con- 
rrarj  to  all  the  maxims  of  writers.     It    is  true,  the  great 
Montesquieu,  and  several  other  writers,  have  laid  it  down  as 
a  maxim  not  to  be  departed  from,  that  the  legislative,  exec- 
utive, and  judicial  powers  should  be  separate  and  distinct. 
But  the  idea  that  these  gentlemen  had  in  view  has  been 
misconceived  or  misrepresented.     An  absolute  and  complete 
separation  is  not  meant  by  them.     It  is  impossible  to  form  a 
government  upon  these  principles.     Those  states  who  had 
rmade  an  absolute    separation    of  these  three  powers  their 
leading  principle,  have  been  obliged  to  depart  from  it.     It  is 
principle,  in  fact,  which  is  not  to  be  found  in  any  of  the 
tate  governments.     In  the  government  of  New  York,  the 
xecutive  and  judiciary  have  a  negative  similar  to  that  of  the 
resident  of  the  United  States.     This  is  a  junction  of  all 
the  three  powers,  and    has    been  attended  with   the  most 
•nappy  effects.     In  this  state,  and  most  of  the  others,  the 
'Executive  and  judicial  powers  are  dependent  on  the  legis- 
l.ature.     Has  not  the  legislature  of  this  state  the  power  of 
appointing  the  judges  ?     Is  it  not  in  their  power  also  to  fix 
iheir  compensation  ?     What  independence  can  there  be  in 
persons  who  are  obliged  to  be  obsequious  and  cringing  for 
their  office  and  salary  ?     Are  not  our  judges  dependent  on 
the  legislature  for  every  morsel  they  eat?     It  is  not  difficult 
to  discern  what  effect  this  may  have  on  human  nature.     The 
meaning  of  this  maxim  I  take  to  be  this  —  that  the  whole 
leo:islative,  executive,  and  judicial  |X)wers  should  not  be  exclu- 
sively blended  in  any  one  particular  instance.     The  Senate 
try  impeachments.     This  is  their  only  judicial  cognizance. 
As  to  the  ordinary  objects  of  a  judiciary  —  such  as  the  decis- 
ion of  controversies,  the  trial  of  criminals,  &c.  —  the  judiciary 
is  perfectly  separate  and  distinct  from  the  legislative  and  ex- 
ecutive branches.     The  House  of  Lords,  in  England,  have 
great  judicial  powers ;  yet  this  is  not  considered  as  a  blemish 
in  their  constitution.     Why  ?     Because  they  have  not  the 
whole  leo:islative    power.     Montesquieu,  at  the  same  time 
that  he  laid  down  this  maxim,  was  writing  in  praise  of  the 
British  government.     At  the  very  time  he  recommended  this 
distinction  of  powers,  he  passed  the  highest  eulogium  on  a 
constitution  therein    they  were  all  partially  blended.     So 

VOL.  IV.  16  11 

122  DEBATES.  [Datik. 

that  the  meaning  of  the  maxim,  as  laid  d%iwn  bj  him  and 
other  writersi  must  be,  that  these  three  branches  mnst 
not  be  entirely  blended  in  one  body.  And  this  system 
before  you  comes  up  to  the  maxim  more  completely  than 
the  favorite  government  of  Montesquieu.  The  gentleman 
from  Anson  has  said  that  the  Senate  destroys  the  inde- 
pendence of  the  President,  because  they  must  confirm  the 
nomination  of  officers.  The  necessity  of  their  interfering  in 
the  appointment  of  officers  resulted  from  the  same  reason 
which  produced  the  equality  of  suffi-^ge.  In  other  countries, 
the  executive  or  chief  magistrate,  alone,  nominates  and 
appoints  officers.  The  small  states  would  not  agree  that 
the  House  of  Representatives  should  have  a  voice  in  the 
appointment  to  offices ;  and  the  extreme  jealousy  of  all  the 
states  would  not  give  it  to  the  President  alone.  In  my 
opinion,  it  is  more  proper  as  it  is  than  it  would  be  in  either 
of  those  cases.  The  interest  of  each  state  will  be  equally 
attended  to  in  appointments,  and  the  choice  will  be  more 
judicious  by  the  junction  of  the  Senate  to  the  President. 
Except  in  the  appointments  of  officers,  and  making  of  trea- 
ties, he  is  not  joined  with  them  in  any  instance.  He  is  per- 
fectly independent  of  them  in  his  election.  It  is  impossible 
for  human  ingenuity  to  devise  any  mode  of  election  better 
calculated  to  exclude  undue  influence.  He  is  chosen  by  the 
electors  appointed  by  the  people.  He  is  elected  on  the 
same  day  in  every  state,  so  that  there  can  he  no  possible  com- 
bination between  the  electors.  The  affections  of  the  peo- 
ple can  be  the  only  influence  to  procure  his  election.  If  he 
makes  a  judicious  nomination,  is  it  to  be  presumed  that  the 
Senate  will  not  concur  in  it  ?  Is  it  to  be  supposed' the  legis- 
latures will  choose  the  most  depraved  men  in  the  states  to 
represent  them  in  Congress  ?  Should  he  nominate  unworthy 
characters,  can  it  be  reasonably  concluded  that  they  will 
confirm  it  ?  He  then  says  that  the  senators  will  have  influ- 
ence to  get  themselves  reelected;  nay,  that  they  will  be 
perpetually  elected. 

I  have  very  little  apprehension  on  this  ground.  I  take  it 
for  granted  that  the*  man  who  is  once  a  senator^  will  very 
probably  be  out  for  the  next  six  years.  Legislative  influ- 
ence changes.  Other  -persons  rise,  who  have  particular  con- 
nections to  advance  them  to  office.  If  the  senators  stay  six 
years  out  of  the  state  governments,  their  influence  wUl  be 

Datie.]  north  CAROLINA.  123 

^[really  diiuiniahed.  It  will  be  impossible  for  the  most  mflu- 
ential  character  to  get  himself  reelected  after  being  out  of 
the  country  so  long.  There  will  be  an  entire  change  in  si> 
years.  Such  futile  objections,  I  fear,  proceed  from  an  aver 
sion  to  any  general  system.  The  same  learned  gentleman 
says  that  it  would  be  better,  were  a  council,  consisting  of 
one  from  every  state,  substituted  to  the  Senate.  Another 
gentleman  has  objected  to  the  small ness  of  this  number. 
This  shows  the  impossibility  of  satisfying  all  men's  minds. 
I  beg  this  committee  to  place  these  two  objections  together, 
and  see  their  glaring  inconsistency.  If  there  were  thirteen 
counsellors,  in  the  manner  he  proposes,  it  would  destroy  the 
responsibility  of  the  President.  He  must  have  acted  also 
with  a  majority  of  them.  A  majority  of  them  is  seven, 
which  would  be  a  quorum.  A  majority  of  these  would  be 
four,  and  every  act  to  which  the  concurrence  of  the  Senate 
and  the  President  is  necessary  could  be  decided  by  these 
four.  Nay,  less  than  a  majority — even  one  —  would  suffice 
to  enable  them  to  do  the  most  important  acts.  This,  sir, 
would  be  the  effect  of  this  council.  The  dearest  interests  of 
the  community  would  be  trusted  to  two  men.  Had  this  been 
the  case,  the  loudest  clamors  would  have  been  raised,  with 
justice,  against  the  Constitution,  and  these  gentlemen  would 
have  loaded  their  own  proposition  with  the  most  virulent 

On  a  due  consideration  of  this  clause,  it  appears  that  this 
power  could  not  have  been  lodged  as  safely  any  where  else 
as  where  it  is.  The  honorable  gentleman  (Mr.  M'Dowall) 
has  spoken  of  a  consolidation  in  this  governmert.  That  is 
a  very  strange  inconsistency,  when  he  points  out,  at  the  same 
time,  the  necessity  of  lodging  the  power  of  making  treaties 
with  the  representatives,  where  the  idea  of  a  consolidation 
can  alone  exist ;  and  when  he  objects  to  placing  it  in  the 
Senate,  where  the  federal  principle  is  completely  preserved. 
As  the  Senate  represents  the  sovereignty  of  the  states, 
whatever  might  affect  the  states  in  their  political  capacity 
ought  to  be  left  to  them.  This  is  the  certain  means  of  pre- 
venting a  consolidation.  How  extremely  absurd  is  it  to  call 
that  disposition  of  power  a  consolidation  of  the  states,  which 
must  to  all  eternity  prevent  it !  I  have  only  to  add  the 
principle  upon  which  the  General  Convention  went  —  that 
the  power  of  making  treaties  could    nowhere  be  so  safely 

i24  DEBATES.  [Spencbr. 

lodged  as  in  the  President  and  Senate ;  and  the  extreme 
jealousy  subsisting  between  some  of  the  states  would  not 
admit  of  it  elsewhere.  If  any  man  will  examine  the  opera- 
tion of  that  jealousy,  in  his  own  breast,  as  a  citizen  of  North 
Carolina,  he  will  soon  feel  the  inflexibility  that  results  from 
it,  and  perhaps  be  induced  to  acknowledge  the  propriety 
of  this  arrangement. 

Mr.  M'DOWALL  declared,  that  he  was  of  the  same  opin- 
ion as  before,  and  that  he  believed  the  observations  which 
the  gentleman  had  made,  on  the  apparent  inconsisle;icy  of 
his  remarks,  would  have  very  little  weight  with  the  com- 
mittee ;  that  giving  such  extensive  |)owers  to  so  few  men  in 
the  Senate  was  extremely  dangerous ;  and  that  he  was  not 
the  more  reconciled  to  it  from  its  being  brought  about  by 
the  inflexibility  of  the  small,  pitiful  states  to  the  north.  He 
supposed  that  eight  members  in  the  Senate  from  those  states, 
with  the  President,  might  do  the  most  important  acts. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  objects 
to  the  smallncss  of  the  number,  and  to  their  want  of  re- 
$[Minsibility.  He  argues  as  if  the  senators  were  never  to  at- 
tend, and  as  if  the  northern  senators  were  to  attend  more 
regularly  than  those  from  the  south.  Nothing  can  be  more 
unreasonable  than  to  suppose  that  they  will  be  absent  on 
the  most  im|)ortant  occasions.  What  responsibility  is  there 
in  the  present  Congress  that  is  not  in  the  Senate?  What 
responsibility  is  there  in  our  state  legislature  ?  The  senators 
are  as  responsible  as  the  members  of  our  legislature.  It  is 
to  be  observed,  that  though  the  senators  are  not  impeachable, 
yet  the  President  is.  He  may  be  impeached  and  punished 
for  giving  his  consent  to  a  treaty,  whereby  the  interest  of 
the  community  is  manifestly  sacrificed. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  worthy  gentleman 
from  Halifax  has  endeavored  to  obviate  my  objections  against 
the  want  of  responsibility  in  the  President  and  senators, 
and  against  the  extent  of  their  power.  He  has  not  removed 
my  objections.  It  is  totally  out  of  their  j)ower  to  show  any  de- 
gree of  responsibility.  The  executive  is  tried  by  his  advisers. 
The  reasons  I  urged  are  so  cogent  and  strong  with  me,  that 
I  cannot  c^pprove  of  this  clause.  I  can  see  nothing  of  any 
weight  against  them.  [Here  Mr.  Spencer  spoke  so  low  that 
he  could  not  distinctly  be  heard.]  I  would  not  give  the 
President  and  senators  power  tc  make  treaties,  because  it 

Ihedell.1  north   CAROLINA.  126 

destrojrs  their  responsibility.     If  a  bad  treaty  be  made,  and 
he  impeached  for  it,  the  Senate  will  not  pronounce  sentence 
against  him,  because  they  advised  him  to  make  it.     If  they 
had  legislative  power  only,  it  would  be  unexceptionable  ;  but 
^vhen  they  have  the  appointment  of  officers,  and  such  ex- 
tensive executive  powers,  it  gives  them  such  weight  as  is 
inadmissible.     Notwithstanding  what  gentlemen  have  said  in 
defence  of  the  clause,  the  influence  of  the  Senate  still  remains 
equally  formidable  to  me.     The  President  can  do  nothing 
KJinless  they  concur  vvith  him.     In  order  to  obtain  their  con- 
^ziunrence,  he  will  compromise  with  them.     Had  there  been 
uch  a  council  as  I  mentioned,  to  advise  him,  the  Senate  would 
othave  had  such  dangerous  influence,  and  the  responsibility 
f  the  President  would  have  been  secured.     This  seems  ob- 
iously  clear  to  be  the  case. 
Mr.  PORTER.     Mr.  Chairman,  I  only  rise  to  make  one 
observation  on  what  the  gentleman  has  said.       He  told  us, 
nhat  if  the  Senate  were  not  amenable,  the  President  was. 
I  beg  leave  to  ask  the  gentleman  if  it  be  not  inconsistent 
that  they  should  punish  the  President,  whom  they  advised 
themselves  to  do  what  he  is  impe-iched  for.     My  objection 
still  remains.     I  cannot  find  it  in  the  least  obviated. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH  desired  to  be  informed  whether 
treaties  were  not  to  be  submitted  to  the  Parliament  in  Great 
Britain  before  they  iwere  valid. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  objections  to  this 
clause  deserve  great  consideration.  I  believe  it  will  be  easy 
to  obviate  the  objections  against  it,  and  that  it  will  be  found 
to  have  been  necessary,  for  the  reasons  stated  by  the  gen- 
tleman from  Halifax,  to  vest  this  power  in  some  body  com- 
posed of  representatives  of  states,  where  their  voices  should 
be  equal ;  for  in  this  case  the  sovereignty  of  the  states  is 
particularly  concerned,  and  the  great  caution  of  giving  the 
states  an  equality  of  suffi*age  in  making  treaties,  was  for 
the  express  purpose  of  taking  care  of  that  sovereignty,  and 
attending  to  their  interests,  as  political  bodies,  in  foreign  ne- 
gotiations. It  is  objected  to  as  improper,  because,  if  the 
President  or  Senate  should  abuse  their  trust,  there  is  not 
sufficient  responsibility,  since  he  can  only  be  tried  by  the 
Senate,  by  whose  advice  he  acted ;  and  the  Senate  cannot 
be  tried  at  all.  I  beg  leave  to  observe  that,  when  any  man 
is  impeached,  it  must  be  for  an  error  of  the  heart,  and  not 


of  the  head.  God  forbid  that  a  man,  in  any  country  in  the 
world,  should  be  liable  to  be  punished  for  want  of  judgment. 
This  is  not  the  case  here.  As  to  errors  of  the  heart,  there 
is  sufficient  responsibility.  Should  these  be  committed,  there 
is  a  ready  way  to  bring  him  to  punishment.  This  is  a  re- 
sponsibility which  answers  every  purpose  that  could  be  de- 
sired by  a  people  jealous  of  their  liberty.  I  presume  that, 
if  the  President,  with  the  advice  of  the  Senate,  should  make 
a  treaty  with  a  foreign  power,  and  that  treaty  should  be 
deemed  unwise,  or  against  the  interest  of  the  country,  yet 
if  nothing  could  be  objected  against  it  but  the  difference  of 
opinion  between  them  and  their  constituents,  they  could  not 
justly  l)e  obnoxious  to  punishment.  If  they  were  punishable 
for  exercising  their  own  judgment,  and  not  that  of  their 
constituents,  no  man  who  regarded  his  reputation  would 
accept  the  office  either  of  a  senator  or  President.  What- 
ever mistake  a  man  may  make,  he  ought  not  to  he  juin- 
ished  for  it,  nor  his  posterity  rendered  infamous.  But  if  a 
man  he  a  villain,  and  wilfully  abuse  his  trust,  he  is  to  be  held 
up  as  a  public  offender,  and  ignominiously  punished.  A  pub- 
lic officer  ought  not  to  act  from  a  principle  of  fear.  Were 
he  punishable  for  want  of  judgment,  he  would  be  contin- 
ually in  dread;  but  when  he  knows  that  nothing  but  real 
guilt  can  disgrace  him,  he  maj'  do  his  duty  firmly,  if  he  be 
an  hon(»st  man  ;  and  if  he  be  not,  a  just  fear  of  disgrace 
may,  perhaps,  as  to  the  public,  have  nearly  the  effect  of  an 
intrinsic  principle  of  virtue.  According  to  these  principles, 
I  suppose  the  only  instances,  in  which  the  President  would 
be  liable  to  impeachment,  would  be  where  he  had  received 
a  bribe,  or  had  acted  from  some  corrupt  motive  or  other.  If 
the  President  had  received  a  bribe,  without  the  privity  or 
knowledge  of  the  Senate,  from  a  foreign  power,  and,  under 
the  influence  of  that  bribe,  had  address  enough  with  the 
Senate,  by  artifices  and  misrepresentations,  to  seduce  their 
consent  to  a  pernicious  treaty,  —  if  it  appeared  afterwards 
that  this  was  the  case,  would  not  that  Senate  be  as  compe- 
tent to  try  him  as  any  other  persons  whatsoever?  Would 
they  not  exclaim  against  his  villany  ?  Would  they  not  feel 
a  particular  resentment  against  him,  for  being  made  the 
instrument  of  his  treacherous  pur[X)ses?  In  this  situation,  if 
any  ohjection  could  be  made  against  the  Senate  as  a  proper 
tribunal,  it  misiht  more  |)roperly  be  made  by  the  President 
himself,  lest  their  resentment  should  operate  too  strongly, 


rather  than  by  the  public,  on  the  ground  of  a  supposed  par- 
tiality.     Tlio   President  must  certainly  be   punishable  for 
giving  false  information  to  the  Senate.     He  is  to  regulate 
all  intercourse  with  foreign  powers,  and  it  is  his  duty  to  im- 
part to  the  Senate  every  material  intelligence  he  receives.    If 
it  should  appear  that  he  has  not  given  them  full  informati6n, 
1)ut  has  conceajed  important  intelligence  which  he  ought  to 
liave  communicated,  and  by  that   means  induced  them  to 
«nter  into  measures  injurious  to  their  country,  and  which 
^hey  would  not  have  consented  to  had  the  true  state  of  things 
Jyeen  disclosed  to  them,  —  in  this  case,  I  ask  whether,  upon 
^n  impeachment  for  a  misdemeanor  upon  such  an  account, 
^he  Senate  would  probably  favor  him.     With  respect  to  the 
impeachiibility  of  the  Senate,  that    is  a  matter   of  doubt. 
There  have  b<»en  no  instances  of  impeachment  for  legis- 
lative misdemeanors ;  and  we  shall  find,  upon  examination, 
that  the  inconveniences  resulting  from  such  impeachments 
would  more  than  preponderate   the  advantages.     There  is 
no  greater,  honor  in  the  world  than  being  the  representative 
of  a  free  people.     There  is  no  trust  on  which  the  happiness 
of   the  people  has  a  greater  dependence.      Yet  who  ever 
heard  of  impeaching  a  member  of  the  legislature  for  any 
legislative  misconduct  ?     It  would  be  a  great  check  on  the 
public  business,  if  a  member  of  the  Assembly  was  liable  to 
punishment  for  his  conduct  as  such.     Unfortunately,  it  is 
the  case,  not  only  in  other  countries,  but  even  in  this,  that 
division  and  differences  in  opinion  will  continually  arise.    On 
many  questions  there  will  be  two  or  more  parties.     These 
often  judge  with  little  charity  of  each  other,  and  attribute 
every  opposition  to  their  own  system  to  an  ill  motive.     We 
know  this  very  well  from   experience ;  but>  in  my  opinion, 
this  constant  suspicion  is  frequently  unjust.     I   believe,  in 
general,  both  parties  really  think  themselves  right,  and  that 
the  majority  of  each  commonly  act  with  equal  innocence  of 
intention.     But,  with  the  usual  want  of  charity  in  these  cases, 
how  dangerous  would  it  be  to  make  a  member  of  the  legis- 
lature liable  to  im[3eachment !     A  mere  difference  of  opinion 
might  be  interpreted,  bv  the  malignity  of  party,  into  a  de- 
liberate, wicked  action. 

It  therefore  appears  to  me  at  least  very  doubtful  whether 
it  would  be  proper  to  render  the  Senate  impeachable  at  all  • 
especially  as,  in  the  branches  of  executive  government,  where 

128  DEBATES.  [Iebdell. 

their  concurrence  is  required,  the  President  is  the  primary 
agent,  and  plainly  responsible,  and  they,  in  fact,  are  but  a 
council  to  validate  proper,  or  restrain  impropc^r,  conduct  in 
him  ;  but  if  a  senator  is  impeachable,  it  could  only  be  for 
corruption,  or  some  other  wicked  motive,  in  which  case, 
surely  those  senators  who  had  acted  from  upright  motives 
would  be  competent  to  try  him.  Suppose  there  had  b<*en 
such  a  council  as  was  pro|)osed,  consisting  of  thirteen,  one 
from  each  state,  to  assist  the  President  in  making  treaties, 
&c. ;  more  general  alarm  would  have  l)een  excited,  and 
stronger  opposition  made  to  this  Constitution,  than  even  at 
present.  The  power  of  the  President  would  have  appeared 
more  formidable,  and  the  states  would  have  lost  one  half  of 
their  security ;  sinc^e,  instead  of  two  representatives,  which 
each  has  now  for  those  purposes,  they  would  have  had  but 
one.  A  gentleman  from  New  Hanover  has  asked  whether 
it  is  not  the  practice,  in  Great  Britain,  to  submit  treaties  to 
Parliament,  before  they  are  esteemed  as  valid.  The  king 
has  the  sole  authority,  by  the  laws  of  that  country,  to  make 
treaties.  After  treaties  are  made,  they  are  frequently  dis- 
cussed in  the  two  houses,  where,  of  late  years,  the  most  im- 
prtant  measures  of  government  have  been  narrowly  exam- 
ined. Ii  is  usual  to  move  for  an  address  of  approbation  ; 
and  such  has  been  the  complaisance  of  Parliament  for  a  long 
time,  that  this  seldom  hath  been  withheld.  Sometimes  they 
pass  an  act  in  conformity  to  the  treaty  made ;  but  this,  I 
believe,  is  not  for  the  mere  purpose  of  confirmation,  but  to 
make  alterations  in  a  particular  system,  which  the  change  of 
circumstances  requires.  The  constitutional  power  of  making 
treaties  is  vested  in  the  crown ;  and  the  power  with  whom  a 
treaty  is  made  considers  it  as  binding,  without  any  act  of 
Parliament,  unless  an  alteration  by  such  is  provided  for  in  the 
treaty  itself,  which  I  believe  is  sometimes  the  case.  When 
the  treaty  of  peace  was  made  in  1763,  it  contained  stipula- 
tions for  the  surrender  of  some  islands  to  the  French.  The 
islands  were  given  up,  I  believe,  without  any  act  of  Parlia- 
ment. The  j)ower  of  makin^^  treaties  is  very  im|X)rtant,  and 
must  l>e  vest(*d  somewhere,  in  order  to  counteract  the  dan 
gerous  designs  of  other  countries,  and  to  be  able  to  terminate 
a  war  when  it  is  begun.  Were  it  know^n  that  our  govern- 
ment w^as  weak,  two  or  more  European  powers  might  com- 
bine against  us.     Would  it  not  be  politic  to  have  some  power 

Iebdell.]  north   CAROLINA.  129 

in  this  country,  to  obviate  this  danger  by  a  treaty?     If  this 
power  was  injudiciously  limited,  the  nations  where  the  power 
-was    possessed  without  restriction    would    have  greatly  the 
advantage  of  us  in  negotiation  ;  and  every  one  must  know, 
recording  to  modern  policy,  of  what  moment  an  advantage 
in  negotiation  is.     The  honorable  member  from  Anson  said 
xhat  the  accumulation  of  all  the  different  branches  of  power 
in  the  Senate  would  be  dangerous.     The  experience  of  other 
<:ountries  shows  that  this  fear  is  without  foundation.     What 
is  the  Senate  of  Great  Britain  opposed  to  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, although  it  be  composed  of  an  hereditary  nobility,  of 
vast    fortunes,   and   entirely   independent   of  the    people  r 
Their  weight  is  far  inferior  to  that  of  the  Commons.     Here 
is  a  strong  instance  of  the  accumulation  of  powers  of  the  dif 
ferent  branches  of  government  without  producing  any  incon- 
venience.    That   Senate,  sir,  is  a  separate  branch  of  the 
legislature,  is  the  great  constitutional  council  of  the  crown, 
and  decides  on  lives  and  fortunes  in  impeachments,  besides 
being  the  ultimate  tribunal  for  trying  controversies  respecting 
private  rights.     Would  it  not  appear  that  all  these  things 
should  render  them  more  formidable  than  the  other  house  ? 
Yet  the  Commons  have  generally  been  able  to  carry  every 
thing  before  them.     The  circumstance  or  tneir  representing 
the  great  body  of  the  people,  alone  gives  them  great  weight. 
This  weio;ht  has  great  authority  added  to  it,  by  their  possess- 
ing the  right  (a  right  given  to  the  people's  representatives  in 
Congress)  of  exclusively  originating  money  bills.     The  au- 
thority over  money  will  do  every  thing.     A  government  can- 
not be  supported  without  money.     Our  representatives  may 
at   ^ny  time  compel  the  Senate  to  agree  to  a    reasonable 
measure,  by  withholding  supplies  till  the  measure  is  consented 
to.     There  was  a  o;reat  debate,  in  the  Convention,  whether 
the  Senate  should  have  an  equal  power  of  originating  money 
bills.     It  was  strongly  insisted,  by  some,  that  they  should ; 
but   at   length  a   majority  thought  it  unadvlsable,  and  the 
clause  was  passed  as  it  now  stands.     I  have  reason  to  be- 
lieve that  our  representatives  had  a  great*share  in  establish- 
ing this  excellent  regulation,  and  in  my  opinion  they  deserve 
the    public   thanks  for  it.     It  has  been  objected  that  this 
power  must  necessarily  injure  the  people,  inasmuch  as  a  bare 
majority  of  the  Senate  might  alone  be  assembled,  and  eight 
would  be  sufficient  for  a  decision.     This  is  on  a  suppositioi 

VOL.  IV.  17 

13U  DEBATES.  [Isedell 

that  many  of  the  senators  would  neglect  attending.  It  is  to 
be  hoped  that  the  gentlemen  who  will  be  honored  with  seats 
in  Congress  will  faithfully  execute  their  trust,  as  well  in  at- 
tending as  in  every  other  part  of  their  duty.  An  objection 
of  this  sort  will  go  against  all  government  whatever.  Pos- 
sible abuse,  and  neglect  of  attendance,  are  objections  which 
may  be  urged  against  any  government  which  the  wisdom  of 
man  is  able  to  construct.  When  it  is  known  of  how  much 
importance  attendance  is,  no  senator  would  dare  to  incur  the 
universal  resentment  of  his  fellow-citizens  by  grossly  absent- 
ing himself  from  his  duty.  Do  gentlemen  mean  that  it  ought 
to  have  been  provided,  by  the  Constitution,  that  the  whole 
l)ody  should  attend  before  particular  business  was  done  ? 
Then  it  would  be  in  the  power  of  a  few  men,  by  neglecting 
to  attend,  to  obstruct  the  public  business,  and  possibly  bring 
on  the  destruction  of  their  country.  If  this  power  be  im- 
properly vested,  it  is  incumbent  on  gentlemen  to  tell  us  in 
what  body  it  could  be  more  safely  and  properly  lodged. 

I  believe,  on  a  serious  consideration,  it  will  be  found  that 
it  was  necessary,  for  the  reasons  mentioned  by  the  gentle- 
man from  Halifax,  to  vest  the  power  in  the  Senate,  or  in 
some  other  body  representing  equally  the  sovereignty  of  the 
states,  and  that  the  power,  as  given  in  the  Constitution,  is 
not  likely  to  be  attended  with  the  evils  which  some  gentle- 
men apprehend.  The  only  real  security  of  liberty,  in  any 
country,  is  the  jealousy  and  circumspection  of  the  people 
themselves.  Let  them  be  watchful  over  their  rulers.  Should 
they  find  a  combination  against  their  liberties,  and  all  other 
methods  a[)pear  insufficient  to  preserve  them,  they  have, 
thank  God,  an  ultimate  remedy.  That  power  which  crea- 
ted the  government  can  destroy  it.  Should  the  government, 
on  trial,  be  found  to  want  amendments,  those  amendments 
can  be  made  in  a  regular  method,  in  a  mode  prescribed  by 
the  Constitution  itself.  Massachusetts,  South  Carolina,  New 
Hampshire,  and  Virginia,  have  all  proposed  amendments; 
but  they  all  concurred  in  the  necessity  of  an  immediate 
adoption.  A  constitutional  mode  of  altering  the  Constitu- 
tion itself  is,  perhaps,  what  has  never  been  known  among 
mankind  before.  We  have  this  security,  in  addition  to  the 
natural  watchfulness  of  the  people,  which  I  hope  will  nevei 
be  found  wanting  The  objections  I  have  answered  de- 
served all  possible  attention ;  and  for  my  part,  I  shall  always 

Spencee.]  north  CAROLINA.  13 J 

r<;spect  that  jealousy  which  arises  from  the  love  of  public 

Mr.  SPENCER.     Mr.  Chairman,  I  think  that  no  argu- 
ment can  be  used  to  show  that  this  power  is  proper.     If  the 
>vhoie  legislative  body  —  if  the  House  of  Representatives  do 
mot  interi'ere  in  making  treaties,  I  think  they  ought  at  least 
xo  have  the  sanction  of  the  whole  Senate.     The  worthy  gen- 
Tleman  last  up  has  mentioned  two  cases  wherein  he  supposes 
that  impeachments  will  be  fairly  tried   by  the  senators.    He 
supposes  a  case  where  the  President  had  been  guilty  of  cor- 
ruption, and  by  that  means  had  brought  over  and   got  the 
sanction  of  two  thirds  of  the  senators;  and  that,  if  it  should 
be  afterwards  found  that  he  brought  them  over  by  artifices, 
they  would  be  a  proper  body  to  try  him.     As  they  will  be 
ready  to  throw  the  odium  off  their  own  shoulders  on  him, 
they  may  pronounce  sentence  against  him.     He  mentions 
another  case,  where,  if  a  majority  was  obtained  by  bribing 
some  of  the  senators,  those  who  were  innocent  might  try 
those  who  were  guilty.    I  think  that  these  cases  will  happen 
but  rarely  in  comparison  to  other  cases,  where  the  senators 
may  advise   the   President   to  deviate  from    his  duty,   and 
where  a  majority  of  them  may  be  guilty.     And  should  they 
be  tried  by  their  own  body  when  thus  guilty,  does  not  ev- 
er)  body  see  the  impropriety  of  it?     Ii  is  universally  dis- 
graceful, odious,  and  contemptible,  to  have  a  trial  where  the 
judges  are  accessory  to  the   misdemeanor  of  the  accused. 
Whether  the  accusation  against  him  be  true  or  not,  if  afraid 
for  themselves,  they  will  endeavor  to  throw  the  odium  upon 
him.     There  is  an  extreme  difference  between  the  case  of 
trying  this  officer  and  that  of  trying  their  own   members* 
They  are  so  different,  that  I  consider  they  will  always  acquit 
their  own  members ;  and  if  they  condemn  the  President,  it 
will  l>e  to  exonerate  themselves.     It  appears  to  me  that  the 
powers  are  too  extensive,  and  not  sufficiently  guarded.     I 
do  not  wish  that  an  aristocracy  should  be  instituted.     An 
aristocracy  may  arise  out  of  this  government,  though  the 
members   l>e   not  hereditary.     I  would  therefore  wish  that 
every  guard  should  be  placed,  in  order  to  prevent  it.     I  wish 
gentlemen  would  reflect  that  the  powers  of  the  Senate  are 
so  great  in  their  legislative  and  judicial  capacities,  that,  when 
added   to  their  executive  powers,  particularly  th(Mr  interfe- 
rence in  the  appointment  of  all  officers  in  the  continent,  they 


will  render  their  power  so  enormous  as  to  enable  them  to 
destroy  our  rights  and  privileges.  This,  sir,  ought  to  be 
strictly  guarded  against. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  honorable  gentle- 
man must  be  mistaken.  He  suggests  that  an  aristocracy 
will  arise  out  of  this  government.  Is  there  any  thing  like 
an  aristocracy  in  this  government  ?  This  insinuation  is  un- 
candidly  calculated  to  alarm  and  catch  prejudices.  In  this 
government  there  is  not  the  least  symptom  of  an  aristocracy, 
which  is,  where  the  government  is  in  a  select  body  of  men 
entirely  independent  of  the  people ;  as,  for  instance,  an  he- 
'reditary  nobility,  or  a  senate  for  life,  filling  up  vacancies  h\ 
their  own  authority.  Will  any  memlier  of  this  government 
hold  his  station  by  any  such  tenure?  Will  not  all  authority 
flow,  in  every  instance,  directly  or  indirectly  from  the  peo- 
ple ?  It  is  contended,  by  that  gentleman,  that  the  addition 
of  the  power  of  making  treaties  to  their  other  powers,  will 
make  the  Senate  dangerous ;  that  they  would  be  even  dan- 
gerous to  the  representatives  of  the  people.  The  gentleman 
has  not  proved  this  in  theory.  Whence  will  he  adduce  an 
example  to  prove  it  ?  What  passes  in  England  directly  dis- 
proves his  assertion.  In  that  country,  the  representatives  of 
the  people  are  chosen  under  undue  influence ;  frequently  by 
direct  bribery  and  corruption.  They  are  elected  for  seven 
years,  and  many  of  the  members  hold  offices  under  the 
crown  —  some  during  pleasure,  others  for  life.  They  are  also 
not  a  genuine  representation  of  the  people,  but,  from  a 
change  of  circumstances,  a  mere  shadow  of  it.  Yet,  undei 
these  disadvantages,  they  having  the  sole  power  of  origina 
ting  money  bills,  it  has  been  found  that  the  power  of  the 
king  and  lords  is  much  less  considerable  than  theirs.  The 
high  prerogatives  of  the  king,  and  the  great  power  and 
wealth  of  the  lords,  have  been  more  than  once  mentioned  in 
the  course  of  the  debates.  If,  under  such  circumstances, 
such  representatives, —  mere  shadows  of  representatives. —  by 
having  the  power  of  the  purse,  and  the  sacred  name  of  the 
people,  to  rely  upon,  are  an  overmatch  for  the  king  and  lords, 
who  have  such  great  hereditary  qualifications,  we  may  safely 
conclude  that  our  own  representatives,  who  will  be  a  genu- 
ine representation  of  the  people,  and  having  equally  the  right 
of  originating  money  bills,  will,  at  least,  be  a  match  for  the 
Senate,  possessing  qualifications  so  inferior  to  those  of  the 
House  of  Lords  in  England. 


It  seems  to  be  forgottea  that  the  Senate  is  placed  therts 
for  a  very  valuable  purpose  —  as  a  guard  against  any  attempt 
of  coasolidation.     The  members  of  the  Convention  were  as 
nmch  averse  to  consolidation  as  any  gentleman  on  this  floor; 
but  without  this  institution,  (I  mean  the  Senate,  where  the 
suffrages  of  the  states  are  equal,)  the  danger  would  be  greater. 
There  ought  to  be  some  power  given  to  the  Senate  to  coua- 
teract  the  influence  of  the  people  by  their  bienniail  represen- 
tation in  the  other  house,  in  order  to  preserve  completely  the 
sovereignty  of  the  states.     If  the  people,  through  the  me- 
dium of  their  representatives,  possessed  a  share  in  making 
t:reaties  and  appointing  ofiicers,  would  there  not  be  a  greater 
l3alance  of  power  in  the  House  of  Representatives  than  such 
sk  government  ought  to  possess?     It  is  true  that  it  would  be 
'Very  improper  if  the    Senate  had  authority  to  prevent  the 
fiouse  of  Representatives   from  protecting  the  people.     It 
'xvould  be  equally  so  if  the  House  of  Representatives  were 
^able  to  prevent  the  Senate  from  protecting  the  sovereignty  of 
xhe  states.     It*  is  probable  that  either  house  would  have  suf- 
ficient authority  to  prevent  much  mischief.     As  to  the  sug- 
gestion of  a  tendency  to  aristocracy,  it  is  totally  groundless. 
1  disdain    every  principle    of  aristocracy.     There  is  not.  a 
shadow  of  an   aristocratical   principle  in  this   government. 
The  President  is  only  chosen  for  four  years  —  liable  to  be 
impeached  —  and  dependent  on  the  people  at  large  for  his 
reelection.     Can  this  mode  of  ap[X)intment  be  said  to  have 
an  aristocratical  principle  in  it  ?     The  Senate  is  chosen  by 
the   legislatures.     Let   us   consider   the   example   of  other 
states,  with  respect  to  the  construction  of  their  Senate.     In 
this   point,  most  of  them   difler;     though   they  almost  all 
concur  in  this,  that  the  term  of  election  for  senators  is  longer 
than  that  for  representatives.     The  reason  of  this  is,  to  in- 
troduce stability  into  the  laws,  and  to  prevent  that  muta- 
bility which  would    result    from    annual    elections  of   both 
branches.     In  New  York,  they  are  chosen  for  three  years ; 
ia  Virginia,  they  are  chosen  for  four  years ;  and  in  Maryland, 
they  are  chosen  for  five  years.     In  this  Constitution,  although 
they  are  chosen  for  six  years,  one  third  go  out  every  second 
vear,  (a  method  pursued  in  some  of  the  state  constitutions,) 
which  at  the  same  time  secures  stability  to  the  laws,  and  a 
due  dependence  on  the   state  h^gislatures.     Will  any  man 
say  that  there  are  any  aristocratical  principles  in  a  body  wha 


h%i  DEBATES.  [Blood  woRTa 

have  no  power  independent  of  the  people,  and  whereof  one 
third  of  the  members  are  chosen,  every  second  year,  by  a 
wise  and  select  body  of  electors  ?  I  hope,  therefore,  that 
it  will  not  be  considered  that  there  are  any  aristocratical 
principles  in  this  government,  and  that  it  will  be  given  up  as 
a  point  not  to  be  contended  for.  The  gentleman  contends 
that  a  council  ought  to  bo  instituted  in  this  case.  One  ob- 
jection ought  to  be  compared  with  another.  It  has  been  ob- 
jected against  the  Constitution  that  it  will  be  productive  of 
great  expense.  Had  there  been  a  council,  it  would  have 
been  oljjected  that  it  was  calculated  for  creating  new  offices, 
and  increasing  the  means  of  undue  influence.  Though  he 
approves  of  a  council,  others  would  not.  As  to  offices,  the 
Senate  has  no  other  influence  but  a  restraint  on  improper 
appointments.  The  President  proposes  such  a  man  for  such 
an  office.  The  Senate  has  to  consider  upon  it.  If  they 
think  him  improper,  the  President  must  nominate  another, 
whose  appointment  ultimately  again  depends  upon  the  Senate. 
Suppose  a  man  nominated  by  the  President ;  with  what  face 
would  any  senator  object  to  him  without  a  good  reason  ? 
There  must  be  some  decorum  in  every  public  body.  He 
would  not  say,  "  I  do  not  choose  this  man,  because  a  friend 
of  mine  wants  the  office."  Were  he  to  object  to  the  nomi- 
nation of  the  President,  without  assigning  any  reason,  his 
conduct  would  be  reprobated,  and  still  might  not  answer  his 
purpose.  Were  an  office  to  be  vacant,  for  which  a  hundred 
men  on  the  continent  were  equally  well  qualified,  there 
would  be  a  hundred  chances  to  one  whether  his  friend  would 
be  nominated  to  it.  This,  in  effect,  is  but  a  restriction  on 
the  President.  The  power  of  the  Senate  would  be  more 
likely  to  be  abused  were  it  vested  in  a  council  of  thirteen,  of 
which  there  would  be  one  from  each  state.  One  man  could 
be  more  easily  influenced  than  two.  We  have  therefore  a 
double  security.  I  am  firmly  of  opinion  that,  if  you  take 
all  the  powers  of  the  President  and  Senate  together,  the 
vast  influence  of  the  representatives  of  the  people  will  pre- 
ponderate against  them  in  every  case  where  the  public  good 
is  really  concerned. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.     Mr.  Chairman,  I  confess  I  am 
sorry  to  take  up  any  time.     1  beg  leave  to  make  a  few  ob- 
servations; for   it  would  be  an  Herculean   task,  and  dis- 
. agreeable  to  this  committee,  to  mention  every  thing.     It  has 

Maclainb]  north  CAROLINA.  l3o 

indeed  been  objected,  aud  urged,  that  the  res|X)nsibility  ot 
the  Sen:ite  was  not  sufficient  to  secure  the  states.     When 
^we  consider  the  length  of  the  term  for  which  they  are  elect- 
ed, and  the  extent  of  their  powers,  we  must  be  persuaded 
that  there  is  no  real  security.     A  gentleman  has  said  that 
the   Assembly  of  North  Carolina  are  rogues.     It  is,  then, 
probable  that  they  may  be  corrupted.     In  this  case,  we  have 
not  a  sufficient  check  on  those  gentlemen  who  are  gone  six 
years.     A  parallel  is  drawn  between  them  and  the  members 
of  our  Assembly  ;  but  if  you  reflect  a  moment,  you  will  find 
that  the  comparison  is  not  good.     There  is  a  responsibility 
in  the  members  of  the  Assembly:  at  the  end  of  a  year  they 
are  liable  to   be  turned  out.     This  is  not  the  case   with 
the  senators.     I  beg  gentlemen  to  consider  the  extreme  dif- 
ference between  the  two  cases.     Much  is  said  about  treaties. 
I  do  not  dread  this  so  much  as  what  will  arise  from  the  Jar- 
riag  interests  of  the  Eastern,   Southern,  and    the  Middle 
States.     They  are  different  in  soil,  climate,  customs,  prod 
uce,  and  every  thing.     Regulations  will  lie  made  evidently 
to  the  disadvantage  of  some  part  of  the  community,  and  most 
probably  to  ours.     I  will  not  take  up  more  of  the  time  of  the 
3d  clause  of  the  2d  section  of  the  2d  article  read. 
Mr.  MACLAINE.     It  has   been  objected  to  this  part, 
that  the  power  of  appointing  officers  was  something  like  a 
monarchical  power.     Congress  are  not  to  be  sitting  at  all 
times ;  they  will  only  sit  from  time  to  time,  as  the  public 
business  may  render  it  necessary.     Therefore  the  executive 
ought  to  make   temporary  appointments,  as  well  as  receive 
ambassadors  and  other  public  ministers.     This  power  can 
be  vested  nowhere  but  in  the  executive,  because  he  is  per- 
petually acting  for  the  public ;  for,  though  the  Senate  is  to 
advist*  him  in  the  appointment  of  officers,  &c.,  yet,  during 
the  recess,  the  President  must  do  this  business,  or  else  it  will 
be  neglected;  and  such  neglect  may  occasion  public  incon- 
veniences.    But  there  is  an  objection  made  to  another  part, 
that  has  not  yet  been  read.     His  power  of  adjourning  both 
houses,  when  they  disagree,  has  been  by  some  people  con- 
strued to  extend  to  any  length  of  time.     If  gentlemen  look 
at  another  part  of  the  Constitution,  they  will  find  that  there 
IS  a  (iositive  injunction,  that  the  Congress  must  meet  at  least 
onre  in  every  year;  so  that  he  cannot,  were  he  so  inclinedt 

136  DEBATES.  LSpbncbk. 

prevent  their  meeting  within  a  year.  One  of  the  best  pro- 
visions contained  in  it  is,  that  he  shall  commission  all  officers 
of  the  United  States,  and  shall  take  care  that  the  laws  be 
faithfully  executed.  If  he  takes  care  to  see  the  laws  faith- 
fully executed,  it  will  be  more  than  is  done  in  any  govern- 
ment on  the  continent ;  for  I  will  venture  to  say  that  our 
governcnent,  and  those  of  the  other  states,  are,  with  re- 
spect to  the  execution  of  the  laws,  in  many  respects  mere 

Rest  of  the  article  read  without  any  observations. 

Article  3d,  1st  and  2d  sections,  read. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  objections  to 
this  article.  I  object  to  the  exclusive  jurisdiction  of  the 
federal  court  in  all  cases  of  law  and  equity  arising  under  the 
Constitution  and  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  to  the 
appellate  jurisdiction  of  controversies  between  the  citizens 
of  diflferent  states,  and  a  few  other  instances.  To  these  1 
object,  because  I  believe  they  will  be  oppressive  in  their 
operation.  1  would  wish  that  the  federal  court  should  not 
interfere,  or  have  any  thing  to  do  with  controversies  to  the 
decision  of  which  the  state  judiciaries  might  be  fully  compe- 
tent, nor  with  such  controversies  as  must  carry  the  people  a 
great  way  from  home.  With  respect  to  the  jurisdiction  of 
cases  arising  under  the  Constitution,  when  we  reflect  on  the 
very  extensive  objects  of  the  plan  of  government,  the  manner 
in  which  they  may  arise,  and  the  multiplicity  of  laws  that 
may  be  made  with  respect  to  them,  the  objection  against  it 
will  appear  to  be  well  founded.  If  we  consider  nothing  but 
i\\v  articles  of  taxation,  duties,  and  excises,  and  the  laws 
that  might  be  made  with  respect  to  these,  the  cases  will  be 
almost  infinite.  If  we  consider  that  it  is  in  contemplation 
ihat  a  stamp  duty  shall  take  place  throughout  the  continent; 
that  all  contracts  shall  be  on  stamp  paper;  that  no  contracts 
Nhall  be  of  validity  but  what  would  be  thus  stamped,  —  these 
VWHVH  will  be  so  many  that  the  consequences  would  be  dread- 
ful. It  would  be  necessary  to  appoint  judges  to  the  federal 
Supri'mi!  ('ourt,  and  other  inferior  departments,  and  such  a 
munb(*r  of  inferior  courts  in  every  district  and  county,  with 
a  correspondent  number  of  officers,  that  it  would  cost  an 
inunense  expense  without  any  apparent  necessity,  which 
must  operate  to  the  distress  of  the  inhabitants.  There  will 
Us  without  ^ny  manner  of  doubt,  clashings  and  animosities 


^tween  the  jurisdiction  of  the  federal  courts  afid  of  the  state 
c^ourts,  so  that  they  will  keep  the  country  in  hot  water*     it 
bas  been  said  that  the  impropriety  of  this  was  mentioned  by 
s^me  in  the  Convention.     I  cannot  see  the  reasons  of  giving 
C  lie  federal  courts  jurisdiction  in  these  cases ;  but  I  am  sure 
i  ^  w^ill  occasion  great  expense  unnecessarily.     The  state  ju- 
iciaries  will  have  very  little  to  do.     It  will  be  almost  useless 
keep  them  up.     As  all  officers  are  to  take  an  oath  to 
pport  the  general  government,  it  will  carry  every  thing 
fcefore  it.     This  will  produce  that  consolidation  through  the 
United  States  which  is  apprehended.     I  am  sure  that  I  do 
xiot  see  that  it  is  possible  to  avoid  it.     I  can  see  no  power 
mhat  can  keep  up  the  little  remains  of  the  power  of  the  states. 
^ur  rights  are  not  guarded.      There  is  no  declaration  of 
vights,  to  secure  to  every  member  of  the  society  those  un- 
oalienable  rights  which  ought  not  to  be  given  up  to  any  gov- 
ernment.    Such  a  bill  of  rights  would  be  a  check  upon  men 
in  power.     Instead  of  such  a  bill  of  rights,  this  Constitu- 
tion has  a  clause  which  may  warrant  encroachments  on  the 
power  of  the  respective  state  legislatures.     I  know  it  is  said 
that  what  is  not  given  up  to  the  United  States  will  be  re- 
tained by  the  individual  states.     I  know  it  ought  to  be  so, 
and  should  be  so  understood ;  but,  sir,  it  is  not  declared  to 
be  so.     In  the  Confederation  it  is  expressjy  declared  that  all 
rights  and  powers,  of  any  kind  whatever,  of  the  several 
states,  which  are  not  given  up  to  the  United  States,  are 
expressly  and   absolutely  retained,  to  be  enjoyed  by  the 
states.     There  ought  to  be  a  bill  of  rights,  in  order  that 
those  in  power  may  not  step  over  the  boundary  between 
the    powers  of  government  and  the  rights  of  the  people, 
which  they  may  do  when  there  is  nothing  to  prevent  them. 
They  may  do  so  without  a  bill  of  rights;  notice  will  not  be 
readily  taken  of  the  encroachments  of  rulers,  and  they  may 
go  a  great  length  before  the  people  are  alarmed.     Oppression 
may  therefore  take  place  by  degrees;  but  if  there  were  ex- 
press terms  and  bounds  laid  down,  when  these  were  passed 
by,  the  people  would  take  notice  of  them,  and  oppressions 
would  not  be  carried  on  to  such  a  length.     I  look  upon  it, 
therefore,  that  there  ought  to  be  something  to  confine  the 
power  of  this  government  within  its  proper  botindaries.     I 
know  that  seiieral  writers  have  said  that  a  bill  of  rights  is 
not  necessary  in  this  country ;  that  some  states  had  them 

VOL.  IV.  18 

138  DEBATES.  [Spencbk. 

ni»t,  and  that  others  had.  To  these  I  answer,  that  those 
states  that  have  them  not  as  bills  of  rights,  strictly  so  called, 
have  them  in  the  frame  of  their  constitution,  which  is  nearly 
the  same. 

There  has  been  a  comparison  made  of  our  situation  with 
Great  Britain.  We  have  no  crown,  or  prerogative  of  a  king, 
like  the  British  constitution.  1  take  it,  that  the  subject  has 
been  misunderstood.  In  Great  Britain,  when  the  king  at- 
tempts to  usurp  the  rights  of  the  people,  the  declaration  and 
bill  of  rights  are  a  guard  against  him.  A  bill  of  rights 
would  be  necessary  here  to  guard  against  our  rulers.  I  wish 
to  have  a  bill  of  rights,  to  secure  those  unalienable  rights, 
which  are  called  by  some  respectable  writers  the  residuum 
of  human  rights,  which  are  never  to  be  given  up.  At  the 
same  time  that  it  would  give  security  to  individuals,  it  would 
add  to  the  general  strength.  It  might  not  be  so  necessary 
to  have  a  bill  of  rights  in  the  government  of  the  United 
States,  if  such  means  had  not  been  made  use  of  as  endan- 
ger a  consolidation  of  all  the  states  ;  but  at  any  event,  it 
would  be  proper  to  have  one,  because,  though  it  might  not 
be  of  any  other  service,  it  would  at  least  satisfy  the  minds 
of  the  people.  It  would  keep  the  states  from  being  swal- 
lowed up  by  a  consolidated  government.  For  the  reasons  I 
before  gave,  I  think  that  the  jurisdiction  of  the  federal  court, 
with  respect  to  all  cases  in  law  and  equity,  and  the  laws  of 
Congress,  and  the  appeals  in  all  cases  between  citizens 
of  different  states,  &c.,  is  inadmissible.  I  do  not  see  the 
necessity  that  it  should  be  vested  with  the  cognizance  of  all 
these  matters.  I  am  desirous,  and  have  no  objection  to 
their  having  one  Supreme  Federal  Court  for  general  matters ; 
but  if  the  federal  courts  have  cognizance  of  those  subjects 
which  I  mentioned,  very  great  oppressions  may  arise.  Noth- 
ing can  be  more  oppressive  than  the  cognizance  with  respect 
to  controversies  between  citizens  of  different  states.  In  all 
cases  of  appeal,  those  persons  who  are  able  to  pay  had  bet- 
ter pay  down  in  the  first  instance,  though  it  be  unjust,  than 
be  at  such  a  dreadful  expense  by  going  such  a  distance  to 
the  Supreme  Federal  Court.  Some  of  the  most  respectable 
states  have  proposed,  by  way  of  amendments,  to  strike  out 
a  great  part  of  these  two  clauses.  If  they  be  admitted  as 
they  are,  it  will  render  the  country  entirely  unhappy.  On 
the  contrary,   I  see  no  inconvenience    from    reducing   the 


power  as  has  been  proposed.     I  am  of  opinion  that  it  is  in- 

c^onsistent  with  the  happiness  of  the  people  to  admit  these 

^wo  clauses.     The  state  courts  are  sufficient  to  decide  the 

<^mmon    controversies   of  the    people,    without   distressing 

them  hy  carrying  them  to  such  far-distant  tribunals.     If  I 

did  not  consider  these  two  clauses  to  be  dangerous,  I  should 

not  object  to  them.     I  mean  not  to  object  to  any  thing  that 

is  not  absolutely  necessary.     I  wish  to  be  candid,  and  not 

be  prejudiced  or  warped. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  insinu- 
ates that  differences  existed  in  the  Federal  Convention  re- 
specting the  clauses  which  he  objects  to.  Whoever  told 
him  so  was  wrong;  for  I  declare  that,  in  that  Convention, 
the  unanimous  desire  of  all  was  to  keep  separate  and  distinct 
the  objects  of  the  jurisdiction  of  the  federal  from  that  of  the 
state  judiciary.  They  wished  to  separate  them  as  judi- 
ciously as  possible,  and  to  consult  the  ease  and  convenience 
of  the  people.  The  gentleman  objects  to  the  cognizance 
of  all  cases  in  law  and  equity  arising  under  the  Constitution 
and  the  laws  of  the  United  States.  This  objection  is  very 
astonishing.  When  any  government  is  established,  it  ought 
to  have  power  to  enforce  its  laws,  or  else  it  might  as  well 
have  no  power.  What  but  that  is  the  use  of  a  judiciary  ? 
The  gentleman,  from  his  profession,  must  know  that  no 
government  can  exist  without  a  judiciary  to  enforce  its  laws, 
by  distinguishing  the  disobedient  from  the  rest  of  the  people, 
and  imposing  sanctions  for  securing  the  execution  of  the 
laws.  As  to  the  inconvenience  of  distant  attendance.  Con- 
gress has  power  of  establishing  inferior  tribunals  in  each 
state,  so  as  to  accommodate  every  citizen.  As  Congress 
have  it  in  their  power,  will  they  not  do  it?  Are  we  to  elect 
men  who  will  wantonly  and  unnecessarily  betray  us  ? 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  hoped  that  some 
gentleman  more  capable  than  myself  would  have  obviated 
the  objections  to  this  part.  The  objections  offered  by  the 
gentleman  appear  to  me  totally  without  foundation.  He 
told  us  that  these  clauses  tended  to  a  consolidation  of  the 
states.  I  cannot  see  how  the  states  are  to  be  consolidated 
by  establishing  these  two  clauses.  He  enumerated  a  num- 
ber of  cases  which  would  be  involved  within  the  cognizance  of 
the  federal  courts ;  customs,  excises,  duties,  stamp  duties  — 
a  stamp  on  every  article,  on  every  contract  — in  order  to  bring 

140  DEBATES  [Maclaim. 

all  persons  into  the  federal  court ,  and  said  that  there  would 
be  necessarily  courts  in  every  district  and  county,  which 
would  be  attended  with  enormous  and  needless  expense,  for 
that  the  state  courts  could  do  every  thing.  He  went  on  fur- 
ther, and  said  that  there  would  be  a  necessity  of  having 
sheriffs  and  other  officers  in  these  inferior  departments,  A 
wonderful  picture  indeed,  drawn  up  in  a  wonderful  manner  ? 
I  will  venture  to  say  that  the  gentleman's  suggestions  are 
not  warranted  by  any  reasonable  construction  of  the  Con- 
stitution. The  laws  can,  in  general,  be  executed  by  the  offi- 
cers of  the  states.  State  courts  and  state  officers  will,  for 
the  most  part,  probably  answer  the  purpose  of  Congress  as 
well  as  any  other.  But  the  gentleman  says  that  the  state 
courts  will  be  swallowed  up  by  the  federal  courts.  This  is 
only  a  general  assertion,  unsupported  by  any  probable  rea- 
sons or  arguments.  The  objects  of  each  are  separate  and 
distinct.  I  suppose  that  whatever  courts  there  may  be,  they 
will  be  established  according  to  the  convenience  of  the  peo- 
ple. This  we  must  suppose  from  the  mode  of  electing  and 
appointmg  the  members  of  the  government.  State  officers 
will  as  much  as  possible  be  employed,  for  one  very  consider- 
able reason  —  I  mean,  to  lessen  the  expense.  But  he 
imagines  that  the  oath  to  be  taken  by  officers  will  tend  to 
the  subversion  of  our  state  governments  and  of  our  liberty. 
Can  any  government  exist  without  fidelity  in  its  officers  ? 
Ought  not  the  officers  of  every  government  to  give  some 
security  for  the  faithful  discharge  of  their  trust  ?  The  offi- 
cers are  only  to  be  sworn  to  support  the  Constitution,  and 
therefore  will  only  be  bound  by  their  oath  so  far  as  it  shall 
be  strictly  pursued.  No  officer  will  \ye  bound  by  his  oath  to 
.  support  any  act  that  would  violate  the  principles  of  the  Con- 

The  gentleman  has  wandered  out  of  his  way  to  tell  us  — 
what  has  so  often  been  said  out  of  doors  —  that  there  is  no 
declaration  of  rights;  that  consequently  all  our  rights  are 
taken  away.  It  would  be  very  extraordinary  to  have  a  bill 
of  rights,  because  the  powers  of  Congress  are  expressly  de- 
fined ;  and  the  very  definition  of  them  is  as  valid  and  effica- 
cious a  check  as  a  bill  of  rights  could  be,  without  the  danger- 
ous implication  of  a  bill  of  rights.  The  powers  of  Congress 
are  limited  and  enumerated.  We  say  we  have  given  them 
those  powers,  but  we  do  not  say  we  have  given  them  more 


'Ve  retain  all  those  rights  which  we  have  not  given  away  to 
•  he  general  government.     The  gentleman  is  a  professional 
Kman.     If  a  gentleman  had  made  his  last  will  and  testament, 
^and  devised  or  bequeathed  to  a  particular  person  the  sixth 
;gpart  of  his  property,  or  any  particular  specific  legacy,  could 
it  be  said  that  that  person  should  have  the  whole  estate  ?     If 
^hey  can  assume  powers  not  enumerated,  there  was  no  oc- 
<!asion    for   enumerating   any   powers.     The   gentleman   is 
learned.     Without   recurring  to  his  learning,  he  may  only 
appeal  to  his  common  sense ;  it  will  inform  hinx  that,  if  we 
-   had  all  power  before,  and  give  away  but  a  part,  we  still  re- 
tain the  rest.     It  is  as  plain  a  thing  as  possibly  can  be,  that 
Congress  can  have  no  power  but  what  we  expressly  give 
them.     There  is   an  express  clause  which,  however  disin- 
genuously it  has  been  perverted  from  its  true  meaning,  clearly 
demonstrates  that  they  are  confined  to  those  powers  which 
are  given  them.    This  clause  enables  them  to  "  make  all  laws 
which  shall  be  necessary  and  proper  for  carrying  into  execu- 
tion the  foregoin^:  powers,  and  all  other  powers  vested  by 
this  Constitution  in  the  government  of  the  United  States,  or 
any  department  or  officers  thereof."     This  clause  specifies 
that  they  shall  make  laws  to  carry  into  execution  all  the 
poioers  vested  by  this  Constitution ;  consequently,  they  can 
make  no  laws  to  execute  any  other  power.      This  clause 
gives  no  new  power,  but  declares  that  those  already  given 
are  to  be  executed  by  proper  laws.     I  hope  this  will  satisfy 
gentlemen.  , 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  learned  member 
from  Anson  says  that  the  federal  courts  have  exclusive  juris- 
diction of  all  cases  in  law  and  equity  arising  under  the  Con- 
stitution and  laws  of  the  United  States.  The  opinion  which 
I  have  always  entertained  is,  that  they  will,  in  these  cases, 
as  well  as  in  several  others,  have  concurrent  jurisdiction  with 
the  state  courts,  and  not  exclusive  jurisdiction.  I  see  nothing 
in  this  Constitution  which  hinders  a  man  from  bringing  suit 
wherever  he  thinks  he  can  have  justice  done  him.  The  juris- 
diction ot  these  courts  is  established  for  some  purposes  with 
which  the  state  courts  have  nothing  to  do,  and  the  Constitu- 
tion takes  no  power  from  the  state  courts  which  they  now 
have.  They  will  have  the  same  business  which  they  have 
now,  and  if  so,  they  will  have  enough  to  employ  their  time. 
We  know  /hat  the  gentlemen  who  preside  in  our  superior 

142  DEBATES.  [Bloouwobtb. 

courts  have  more  business  than  they  can  determine.  Their 
complicated  jurisdiction,  and  the  great  extent  of  country, 
occasions  them  a  vast  deal  of  business.  The  addition  of  the 
business  of  the  United  States  would  be  no  manner  of  advan- 
tage to  them.  It  is  obvious  to  every  one  that  there  ought  to 
be  one  Supreme  Court  for  national  purposes.  But  the  gen- 
tleman says  that  a  bill  of  rights  was  necessary.  It  appears 
to  me,  sir,  that  it  would  have  been  the  highest  absurdity  to 
undertake  to  define  what  rights  the  people  of  the  United 
States  were  entitled  to  ;  for  that  would  he  as  much  as  to  say 
they  were  entitled  to  nothing  else.  A  bill  of  rights  may  be 
necessary  in  a  monarchical  government,  whose  powers  are 
undefined.  Were  we  in  the  situation  of  a  monarchical  coun- 
try ?  No,  sir.  Every  right  could  not  be  enumerated,  and 
the  omitted  rights  would  be  sacrificed,  if  security  arose  from 
an  enumeration.  The  Congress  cannot  assume  any  other 
powers  than  those  expressly  given  them,  without  a  palpable 
violation  of  the  Constitution.  Such  objections  as  this,  I  hope, 
will  have  no  effect  on  the  minds  of  any  members  in  this 
house.  When  gentlemen  object,  generally,  that  it  tends  to 
consolidate  the  states  and  destroy  their  state  judiciaries,  they 
ought  to  be  explicit,  and  explain  their  meaning.  They  make 
use  of  contradictory  arguments.  The  Senate  represents  the 
states,  and  can  alone  prevent  this  dreaded  consolidation ;  yet 
the  powers  of  the  Senate  are  objected  to.  The  rights  of  the 
people,  in  my  opinion,  cannot  be  affected  by  the  federal 
courts.  I«do  not  know  how  inferior  courts  will  be  regulated. 
Some  suppose  the  state  courts  will  have  this  business. 
Others  have  imagined  that  the  continent  would  be  divided 
into  a  nimiber  of  districts,  where  courts  would  be  held  so  as 
to  suit  the  convenience  of  the  people.  Whether  this  or  some 
other  mode  will  be  ap|)ointed  by  Congress,  I  know  not ;  but 
this  I  am  sure  of,  that  the  state  judiciari(\s  are  not  divested 
of  their  present  judicial  cognizance,  and  that  we  have  every 
security  that  our  ease  and  convenience  will  be  consulted. 
Unless  Congress  had  this  power,  their  laws  could  not  be  ear- 
ned into  execution. 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  worthy  gen- 
tleman u|)last  has  given  me  information  on  the  subject  which 
I  had  never  heard  before.  Henring  so  many  opinions,  I  did 
not  know  which  was  right.  The  honorable  gentleman  has 
said  that  the  state  courts  and  the  courts  of  the  United  States 


^would  have  concurrent  jurisdiction.  1  beg  the  committee  to 
Teflect  what  would  be  the  consequence  of  such  measures 
It  has  ever  been  considered  that  the  trial  by  jury  was  one 
of  the  greatest  rights  of  the  people.  I  ask  whether,  if  such 
causes  go  into  the  federal  court,  the  trial  by  jury  is  not  cut 
off,  and  whether  there  is  any  security  that  we  shall  have 
justice  done  us.  I  ask  if  there  be  any  security  that  we  shall 
have  juries  in  civil  causes.  In  criminal  cases  there  are  to 
be  juries,  but  there  is  no  provision  made  for  having  civil 
causes  tried  by  jury.  This  concurrent  jurisdiction  is  in- 
consistent with  the  security  of  that  great  right.  If  it  be 
not,  I  would  wish  to  hear  how  it  is  secured.  I  have  listened 
with  attention  to  what  the  learned  gentlemen  have  said, 
and  have  endeavored  to  see  whether  their  arguments  had 
any  weight ;  but  I  found  none  in  them.  Many  words  have 
been  spoken,  and  long  time  taken  up;  but  with  me  they 
have  gone  in  at  one  ear,  and  out  at  the  other.  It  would 
give  me  much  pleasure  to  hear  that  the  trial  by  jury  was 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  objections  to 
this  part  of  the  Constitution  have  not  been  answered  to  my 
satisfaction  yet.  We  know  that  the  trial  by  a  jury  of  the 
vicinage  is  one  of  the  greatest  securities  for  property.  If 
causes  are  to  be  decided  at  such  a  great  distance,  the  poor 
will  be  oppressed  ;  in  land  affairs,  particularly,  the  wealthy 
suitor  will  prevail.  A  poor  man,  who  has  a  just  claim  on  a 
piece  of  land,  has  not  substance  to  stand  it.  Can  it  be 
Supposed  that  any  man,  of  common  circumstances,  can  stand 
the  expense  and  trouble  of  going  from  Georgia  to  Philadel- 
phia, there  to  have  a  suit  tried  ?  And  can  it  be  justly  de- 
termined without  the  benefit  of  a  trial  by  jury  ?  These  arc 
things  which  have  justly  alarmed  the  people.  What  mado 
the  people  revolt  from  Great  Britain  ?  The  trial  by  jury, 
that  great  safeguard  of  liberty,  was  taken  away,  and  a  stamp 
duty  was  laid  upon  them.  This  alarmed  them,  and  led  them 
to  fear  that  greater  oppressions  would  take  place.  We  then 
resisted.  It  involved  us  in  a  war,  and  caused  us  to  relin- 
quish a  government  which  made  us  happy  in  every  thing 
else.  The  war  was  very  bloody,  but  we  got  our  independ- 
ence. We  are  now  giving  away  our  dear-bought  rights. 
We  ought  to  consider  what  we  are  about  to  do  before  we 

144  DEBATES.  [Ibkoeli.. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  trial  by  jury  was 
not  forgotten  in  the  Convention  ;  the  subject  took  up  a  con- 
siderable time  to  investigate  it.  It  w3ls  impossible  to  make 
any  one  uniform  regulation  for  all  the  states,  or  that  would 
include  all  cases  where  it  would  be  necessary.  It  was  im- 
possible, by  one  expression,  to  embrace  the  whole.  There 
are  a  number  of  equity  and  maritime  cases,  in  some  of  the 
states,  in  which  jury  trials  are  not  used.  Had  the  Conven- 
tion said  that  all  causes  should  be  tried  by  a  jury,  equity 
and  maritime  oases  would  have  been  included.  It  was 
therefore  left  to  the  legislature  to  say  in  what  cases  it  should 
be  used  ;  and  as  the  trial  by  jury  is  in  full  force  in  the  state 
courts,  we  have  the  fullest  security. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  waited  a  con 
siderable  time,  in  hopes  that  some  other  gentleman  would 
fully  discuss  this  point.  I  conceive  it  to  be  my  duty  to 
speak  on  every  subject  whereon  I  think  I  can  throw  any 
light ;  and  it  appears  to  me  that  some  things  ought  to  be 
said  which  no  gentleman  has  yet  mentioned.  The  gentle- 
man from  New  Hanover  said  that  our  arguments  went  in  at 
one  ear,  and  out  at  the  other.  This  sort  of  language,  on 
so  solemn  and  important  an  occasion,  gives  me  pain.  [Mr. 
Bloodworth  here  declared  that  he  did  not  mean  to  convey 
any  disrespectful  idea  by  such  an  expression  ;  that  he  did 
not  mean  an  absolute  neglect  of  their  arguments,  but  that 
they  were  not  sufficient  to  convince  him  ;  that  he  should  be 
sorry  to  give  pain  to  any  gentleman  ;  that  he  had  listened, 
and  still  would  listen,  with  attention,  to  what  would  be  said. 
Mr.  Iredell  then  continued.]  I  am  by  no  means  surprised 
at  the  anxiety  which  is  expressed  by  gentlemen  on  this  sub- 
ject. Of  all  the  trials  that  ever  were  instituted  in  the  world, 
this,  in  my  opinion,  is  the  best,  and  that  w^hich  I  hope  will 
continue  the  longest.  If  the  genth^men  who  composed  the 
Convention  had  designedly  omitted  it,  no  man  would  be 
more  ready  to  condemn  their  conduct  than  myself.  But  I 
have  been  told  that  the  omission  of  it  arose  from  the  diffi- 
culty of  establishing  one  uniform,  unexceptionable  mode  ; 
this  mode  of  trial  being  different,  in  many  particulars,  in  the 
several  states.  Gentlemen  will  be  pleased  to  consider  that 
there  is  a  material  difference  between  an  article  fixed  in  the 
Constitution,  and  a  regulation  by  law.  An  article  in  the 
Constitution,  however  inconvenient  it  may  prove  by  experi- 


nee,  can  only  be  altered  by  altering  the  Constitution  itself, 
"which  manifestly  is  a  thing  that  ought  not  to  be  done  often. 
"When  regulated  by  law,  it  can  easily  be  occasionally  altered 
«o  as  best  to  suit  the  conveniences  of  the  people.  Had 
there  been  an  article  in  the  Constitution  taking  away  that 
trial,  it  would  justly  have  excited  the  public  indignation.  It 
is  not  taken  away  by  the  Constitution.  Though  that  does 
not  provide  expressly  for  a  trial  by  jury  in  civil  cases,  it  does 
not  say  that  there  shall  not  be  such  a  trial.  The  reasons  of 
the  omission  have  been  mentioned  by  a  member  of  the  late 
General  Convention,  (Mr.  Spaight.)  There  are  different 
practices  in  regard  to  this  trial  in  different  states.  In  some 
cases,  they  have  no  juries  in  admiralty  and  equity  cases  ;  ir 
others,  they  have  juries  in  these  cases,  as  well  as  in  suits  at 
common  law.  I  beg  leave  to  say  that,  if  any  gentleman  of 
ability  and  knowledge  of  the  subject  will  only  endeavor  to 
fix  upon  any  one  rule  that  would  be  pleasing  to  all  the  states 
under  the  impression  of  their  present  different  habits,  he  will 
be  convinced  that  it  is  impracticable.  If  the  practice  of  any 
particular  state  had  been  adopted,  others,  probably,  whose 
practice  had  been  different,  would  have  been  discontented. 
This  is  a  consequence  that  naturally  would  have  ensued,  had 
the  provision  been  made  in  the  Constitution  itself.  But 
when  the  regulation  is  to  be  by  law,  —  as  that  law,  when 
found  injudicious,  can  be  easily  repealed,  a  majority  may 
l)e  expected  to  agree  upon  some  method,  since  some  method 
or  other  must  be  first  tried,  and  there  is  a  greater  chance  of 
the  favorite  method  of  one  state  l>eing  in  time  preferred.  It 
is  not  to  be  presumed  that  the  Congress  would  dare  to  de- 
prive the  people  of  this  valuable  privilege.  Their  own  in- 
terest will  operate  as  an  additional  guard,  as  none  of  them 
could  tell  how  soon  they  might  have  occasion  for  such  a 
trial  themselves.  The  greatest  danger  from  ambition  is  in 
criminal  cases.  But  here  they  have  no  option.  The  trial 
must  be  by  jury,  in  the  state  wherein  the  offence  is  com- 
mitted ;  and  the  writ  of  habeas  corpus  will  in  the  mean  time 
secure  the  citizen  against  arbitrary  imprisonment,  which  has 
been  the  principal  source  of  tyranny  in  all  ages. 

As  to  the  clause  respecting  cases  arising  under  the  Con- 
stitution and  the  laws  of  the  Union,  which  the  honorable 
member  objected  to,  it  must  be  observed,  that  laws  are  use- 
leas  unless  they  are  executed.     At  present.  Congress  have 

VOL.  IV.  ^     19  13 

116  DEBATES.  [Ircoell 

I>owers  which  they  cannot  execute.  After  making  laws 
wliich  affect  the  dearest  interest  of  the  people,  in  the  con- 
stitutional mode,  they  have  no  way  of  enforcing  them.  The 
situation  of  those  gentlemen  who  have  lately  served  in  Con- 
gress must  have  been  very  disagreeable.  Congress  have 
power  to  enter  into  negotiations  with  foreign  nations,  but 
cannot  compel  the  observance  of  treaties  that  they  make. 
They  have  been  much  distressed  by  their  inability  to  pay 
the  pressing  demands  of  the  public  creditors.  They  have 
been  reduced  so  low  as  to  borrow  principal  to  pay  interest. 
Such  are  the  unfortunate  consequences  of  this  unhappy  sit- 
uation !  These  are  the  effects  of  the  pernicious  mode  of 
requisitions!  Has  any  state  fully  paid  its  quota  ?  I  believe 
not,  sir.  Yet  I  am  far  from  thinking  that  this  has  been 
owing  altogether  to  an  unwillingness  to  pay  the  debts.  It 
may  have  been  in  some  instances  the  case,  but  I  believe 
not  in  all.  Our  state  le^gislature  has  no  way  of  raising  any 
considerable  sums  but  by  laying  direct  taxes.  Other  states 
have  imports  of  consequence.  These  may  afford  them  a 
considerable  relief;  but  our  state,  perhaps,  could  not  have 
raised  its  full  quota  by  direct  taxes,  without  imposing  bur- 
dens too  heavy  for  the  people  to  bear.  Suppose,  in  this  sit- 
uation, Congress  had  proceeded  to  enforce  their  requisitions, 
by  sending  an  army  to  collect  them  ;  what  would  have  l)een 
the  consequence  ?  Civil  war^  in  which  the  innocent  must 
have  suffered  with  the  guilty.  Those  who  were  willing  to 
pay  would  have  been  equally  distressed  with  those  who  were 
unwilling.  Requisitions  thus  having  failed  of  their  purpose, 
it  is  proposed,  by  this  Constitution,  that,  instead  of  collect- 
ing taxes  by  the  sword,  application  shall  be  made  by  the 
government  to  the  individual  citizens.  If  any  individual 
disobeys,  the  courts  of  justice  can  give  immediate  relief. 
This  is  the  only  natural  and  effectual  method  of  enforcing 
laws.  As  to  the  danger  of  concurrent  jurisdictions,  has  any 
inconvenience  resulted  from  the  concurrent  jurisdictions,  in 
sundry  cases,  of  the  superior  and  county  courts  of  this  state  ? 
The  inconvenience  of  attending  at  a  great  distance,  which 
has  been  so  much  objected  to,  is  one  which  would  be  so 
general,  that  there  is  no  doubt  but  that  a  majority  would 
always  feel  themselves  and  their  constituents  personally  in- 
terested in  preventing  it.  I  have  no  doubt,  therefore,  that 
proper  care  will  be  taken  to  lessen  this  evil  as  much  as  pes- 

[redeix.]  north  CAROLINA.  HI 

sible ;  and,  in  particular,  that  an  appeal  to  the  Supreme* 
Court  will  not  be  allowed  but  in  cases  of  great  importance, 
where  the  object  may  be  adequate  to  the  expense.  The 
Supreme  Court  may  possibly  be  directed  to  sit  alternately 
in  different  parts  of  the  Union. 

The  propriety  of  having  a  Supreme  Court  in  every  gov- 
ernment must  be  obvious  to  every  man  of  reflection.  There 
can  be  no  other  way  of  securing  the  administration  of  justice 
uniformly  in  the  several  states.  There  might  be,  otherwise, 
as  many  different  adjudications  on  the  same  subject  as  there 
are  states.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that,  if  this  government  be 
established,  connections  still  more  intimate  than  the  present 
will  subsist  between  the  different  states.  The  same  measure 
of  justice,  therefore,  as  to  the  objects  of  their  common  con- 
cern, ought  to  prevail  in  all.  A  man  in  North  Carolina,  for 
instance,  if  he  owed  £100  here,  and  was  compellable  to 
pay  it  in  good  money,  ought  to  have  the  means  of  recovering 
the  same  sum,  if  due  to  him  in  Rhode  Island,  and  not  merely 
the  nominal  sum,  at  about  an  eighth  or  tenth  part  of  its  intrin- 
sic value.  To  obviate  such  a  grievance  as  this,  the  Constitu- 
tion has  provided  a  tribunal  to  administer  equal  justice  to  all. 

A  gentleman  has  said  that  the  stamp  act,  and  the  taking 
away  of  the  trial  by  jury,  were  the  principal  causes  of 
resistance  to  Great  Britain,  and  seemed  to  infer  that  opposi- 
tion would  therefore  be  justified  on  this  part  of  the  system. 
The  stamp  act  was  much  earlier  than  the  immediate  cause 
of  our  independence.  But  what  was  the  great  ground  of  op- 
position to  the  stamp  act?  Surely  it  was  because  the  act 
was  not  passed  by  our  own  representatives,  but  by  those  of 
Great  Britain.  Under  this  Constitution,  taxes  are  to  be 
imposed  by  our  own  representatives  in  the  General  Con- 
gress. The  fewness  of  their  numbers  will  be  compensated 
by  the  weight  and  importance  of  their  characters.  Our  rep- 
resentatives will  be  in  proportion  to  those  of  the  other  states. 
This  case  is  certainly  not  like  that  of  taxation  by  a  foreign 
legislature.  In  respect  to  the  trial  by  jury,  its  being  taken 
away,  in  certain  cases,  was,  to  be  sure,  one  of  the  causes  as- 
signed in  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  But  that  was 
done  by  a  foreign  legislature,  which  might  continue  it  so 
forever;  and  therefore  jealousy  was  justly  excited.  But 
this  Constitution  has  not  taken  it  away,  and  it  is  left  to  the 
discretion  of  our  own  legislature  to  act,  in  this  respect,  as 

148  DEBATES.  [luiiKLL. 

their  wisdom  shall  direct.  In  Great  Britain,  the  people 
speak  of  the  trial  by  jury  with  admiration.  No  monarch,  or 
minister,  however  arbitrary  in  his  principles,  would  dare  to 
attack  that  noble  palladium  of  liberty.  The  enthusiasm  of 
the  people  in  its  favor  would,  in  such  a  case,  produce  gen- 
eral resistance.  That  trial  remains  unimpaired  there,  al- 
though they  have  a  considerable  standing  army,  and  their 
Parliament  has  authority  to  abolish  it,  if  they  please.  But 
wo  to  thase  who  should  attempt  it !  If  it  be  secure  in  that 
country,  under  these  circumstances,  can  we  believe  that  Con- 
gress either  would  or  could  take  it  away  in  this?  Were 
they  to  attempt  it,  their  authority  would  be  instantly  resist 
ed.  They  would  draw  down  on  thems^ves  the  resent 
ment  and  detestation  of  the  people.  They  and  their  fami- 
lies, so  long  as  any  remained  in  being,  would  be  held  ir 
eternal  infamy,  and  the  attempt  prove  as  unsuccessful  as  it 
was  wicked. 

With  regard  to  a  bill  of  rights,  this  is  a  notion  originating 
in  England,  where  no  written  constitution  is  to  be  found,  and 
the  authority  of  their  government  is  derived  from  the  most 
remote  antiquity.  Magna  Charta  itself  is  no  constitution, 
but  a  solemn  instrument  ascertaining  certain  rights  of  indi- 
viduals, by  the  legislature  for  the  time  being ;  and  every  ar- 
ticle of  which  the  legislature  may  at  any  time  alter.  This, 
and  a  bill  of  rights  also,  the  invention  of  later  times,  were 
occasioned  by  great  usurpations  of  the  crown,  contrary,  as 
was  conceived,  to  the  principles  of  their  government,  about 
■which  there  was  a  variety  of  opinions.  But  neither  that  in- 
strument, nor  any  other  instrument,  ever  attempted  to  abridge 
the  authority  of  Parliament,  which  is  supposed  to  be  without 
any  limitation  whatever.  Had  their  constitution  been  fixed 
•and  certain,  a  bill  of  rights  would  have  been  useless,  for  the 
constitution  would  have  shown  plainly  the  extent  of  that 
authority  which  they  were  disputing  about.  Of  what  use, 
therefore,  can  a  bill  of  rights  be  in  this  Constitution,  where 
the  people  expressly  declare  how  much  power  they  do  give, 
and  consequently  retain  all  they  do  not  ?  It  is  a  declaration 
of  particular  powers  by  the  people  to  their  representatives, 
for  particular  purposes.  It  may  be  considered  as  a  great 
.power  of  attorney,  under  which  no  power  can  be  exercised 
but  what  is  expressly  given.  Pid  any  man  ever  hear,  be- 
fore, that  at  the  end  of  a  power  of  attorney  it  was  said  that 

'I>owALL.]  NORTH  CAROUNA.  •        149 

^lie  attorney  should  not  exercise  more  power  than  was  thde* 
^iven  himP     Suppose,  for  instance,  a  man  had  lands  in  the 
c^ounties  of  Anson  and  Caswell,  and  he  should  give  another  a' 
ipower  of  attorney  to  sell  his  lands  in  Anson,  would  the  other 
^ave  any  authority  to  seH  the  lands  in  Caswell?  —  or  could' 
lie,  without  absurdity,  say,  "  'Tis  true  you  have  not  expressly 
snithorized  me  to  sell  the  lands  in  Caswell ;  but  as  you  had 
lands  there,  and  did  not  say  f  should  not,  I  thought  I  might 
as  well  sell  those  lands  as  the  other.''     A  bill  of  rights,  as  I 
conceive,  would  not  only  be   incongruous,  but   dangerous, 
^o  man,  let  his  ingenuity  be  what  it  will,  could  enumerate  all 
the  individual  rights  not  relinquished  by  this  Constitution. 
Suppose,  therefore,  an  enumeration  of  a  great  many,  but  an 
omission  of  some,  and  that,  long  after  all  traces  of  our  present- 
disputes  were  at  an  end,  any  of  the  omitted  rights  should  be* 
invaded,  and  the  invasion  be  complained  of;  what  would 
be  the  plausible  answer  of  the  government  to  such  a  com- 
plaint ?     Would  they  not  naturally  say,  "  We  live  at  a  great 
distance  from  the  time  when  this  Constitution  was  estab- 
lished.    We  can  judge  of  it  much  better  by  the  ideas  of  it 
entertained  at  tlie  time,  than  by  any  ideas  of  our  own.     The- 
bill  of  rights,  passed  at  that  time,  showed  that  the  people' 
did  not  think  every  power  retained  which  was  not  given, 
else  this  bill  of  rights  was  not  only  useless,  but  absurd.     But 
we  are  not  at  liberty  to  charge  an  absurdity  upon  our  ances- 
tors, who  have  given  such  strong^  proofs  of  their  good  sense, 
as  well  as  their  attachment  to  liberty.     So  long  as  the  rights* 
enumerated  in  the  bill  of  rights  remain  unviolated,  you  have 
no  reason  to  complain.     This  is  not  one  of  them."     Thus  a 
bill  of  rights  might  operate  as  a  snare  rather  than  a  pro- 
tection.    If  we  had  formed-  a  general  legislature,  with  un- 
defined powers,  a  bill  of  rights  would  not  only  have  been= 
pmper,  but  necessary ;  and  it  would  have  then  operated  as- 
an  exception  to  the  legislative  authority  in  such  particulars. 
It  has  this  effect  in  respect  to  some  of  the  American  con- 
stitutions, where  the  powers  of  legislation  are  general.     But' 
where  they  are  powers  of  a  particular  nature,  and  expressly 
defined;  as  in  the  case  of  the  Constitution  before  us,  T  think, 
W  the  reasons  1  have  given,  a  bill  of  rights  is  not  only  un- 
necessary, but  would  be  absurd  and  dangerous. 

Mr.  J.  M^DOWALL.     Mr.  Chairman,  the  learned- gen 
tieman  made  use  of  several  afgumenis  to  induce  us  to  believe 

f60  DEBATES  [Johnston. 

that  the  tiial  by  jury,  in  civil  cases,  was  not  in  danger,  and 
observed  that,  in  criminal  cases,  it  is  provided  that  the  trial 
is  to  be  in  the  state  where  the  crime  was  committed.  Sup- 
pose a  crime  is  committed  at  the  Mississippi ;  the  man  may 
be  tried  at  Edenton.  They  ought  to  be  tried  by  the  people 
of  the  vicinage ;  for  when  the  trial  is  at  such  an  immense 
distance,  the  principal  privilege  attending  the  trial  by  jury  is 
taken  away ;  therefore  the  trial  ought  to  be  limited  to  a  dis- 
trict or  certain  part  of  the  state.  It  has  been  said,  by  the 
gentleman  from  Edenton,  that  our  representatives  will  have 
virtue  and  wisdom  to  regulate  all  these  things.  But  it  would 
give  me  much  satisfaction,  in  a  matter  of  this  importance,  to 
see  it  absolutely  secured.  The  depravity  of  mankind  mili- 
tates against  such  a  degree  of  confidence.  I  wish  to  see 
every  thing  fixed. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  observations  of 
the  gentleman  last  up  confirm  what  the  other  gentleman 
said.  I  mean  that,  as  there  are  dissimilar  modes  with  respect 
to  the  trial  by  jury  in  different  states,  there  could  be  no  gen- 
eral rule  fixed  to  accommodate  all.  He  says  that  this  clause 
is  defective,  because  the  trial  is  not  to  be  by  a  jury  of  the 
vicinage.  Let  us  look  at  the  state  of  Virginia,  where,  as 
long  as  I  have  known  it,  the  laws  have  been  executed  so  as 
to  satisfy  the  inhabitants,  and,  I  believe,  as  well  as  in  any 
part  of  the  Union.  In  that  country,  juries  are  summoned 
every  day  from  the  by-standers.  We  may  expect  less  par- 
tiality when  the  trial  is  by  strangers ;  and  were  I  to  be  tried 
for  my  property  or  life,  I  would  rather  be  tried  by  disinter- 
ested men,  who  were  not  biased,  than  by  men  who  were 
perhaps  intimate  friends  of  my  opponent.  Our  mode  is  dif- 
ferent from  theirs ;  but  whether  theirs  be  better  than  ours  or 
not,  is  not  the  question.  It  would  be  improper  for  our  dele- 
gates to  impose  our  mode  upon  them,  or  for  theirs  to  impose 
their  mode  upon  us.  The  trial  will  probably  be,  in  each 
state,  as  it  has  been  hitherto  used  in  such  state,  or  otherwise 
regulated  as  conveniently  as  possible  for  the  people.  The 
delegates  who  are  to  meet  in  Congress  will,  I  hope,  be  men 
of  virtue  and  wisdom.  If  not,  it  will  be  our  own  fault. 
They  will  have  it  in  their  power  to  make  necessary  regula- 
tions to  accommodate  the  inhabitants  of  each  state.  In  the 
Constitution,  the  general  principles  only  are  laid  down.  It 
will  be  the  object  of  the  future  legislation  to  Congress  to 

^Caclaine.]  north   CAROLINA.  151 

snake  such  laws  as  will  be  most  convenient  for  the  people, 

"^Vith  regard  to  a  bill  of  rights,  so  much  spoken  of,  what  tne 

gentleman  from  Edenton  has  said,  I  hope,  will  obviate  the 

objections  against  the  want  of  it.     In  a  monarchy,  all  power 

may  be  sup{K)sed  to  be  vested  in  the  monarch,  except  what 

may  be  reserved  by  a  bill  of  rights.     In  England,  in  every 

instance  where  the  rights  of  the  people  are  not  declared, 

the  prerogative  of  the  king  is  supposed  to  extend.     But  in 

this  country,  we  say  that  what  rights  we  do  not  give  away 

remain  with  us. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  footing  on 
which  the  trial  by  jury  is,  in  the  Constitution,  does  not  sat- 
isfy me.  Perhaps  I  am  mistaken  ;  but  if  I  understand  the 
thing  right,  the  trial  by  jury  is  taken  away.  If  the  Supreme 
Federal  Court  has  jurisdiction  both  as  to  law  and  fact,  it  ap- 
pears to  me  to  be  taken  away.  The  honorable  gentleman 
who  was  in  the  Convention  told  us  that  the  clause,  as  it  now 
stands,  resulted  from  the  difficulty  of  fixing  the  mode  of  trial. 
1  think  it  was  easy  to  have  put  it  on  a  secure  footing.  But, 
if  the  genius  of  the  people  of  the  United  States  is  so  dis- 
similar that  our  liberties  cannot  be  secured,  we  can  never 
hang  long  together.  Interest  is  the  band  of  social  union  ; 
and  when  this  is  taken  away,  the  Union  itself  must  dissolve. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  do  not  take  the  in- 
terest of  the  states  to  be  so  dissimilar ;  I  take  them  to  be 
all  nearly  alike,  and  inseparably  connected.  It  is  impossible 
to  lay  down  any  constitutional  rule  for  the  government  of  all 
the  different  states  in  each  particular.  But  it  will  be  easy 
for  the  legislature  to  make  laws  to  accommodate  the  people 
iu  every  part  of  the  Union,  as  circumstances  may  arise. 
Jury  trial  is  not  taken  away  in  such  cases  where  it  may  be 
found  necessary.  Although  the  Supreme  Court  has  cogni- 
zance of  the  appeal,  it  does  not  follow  but  that  the  trial  by 
jury  m:iy  be  had  in  the  court  below,  and  the  testimony  trans- 
mitted to  the  Supreme  Court,  who  will  then  finally  determine, 
on  a  review  of  all  the  circumstances.  This  is  well  known 
to  be  the  practice  in  some  of  the  states.  In  our  own  state, 
indeed,  when  a  cause  is  instituted  in  the  county  court,  and 
afterwards  there  is  an  appeal  upon  it,  a  new  trial  is  had  in 
the  superior  court,  as  if  no  trial  had  been  had  before.  In 
other  countries,  however,  when  a  trial  is  had  in  an  inferior 
court,  and  an  appeal  is  taken,  no  testimony  can  be  given  in 

153  DEBATES.  [Spbnc». 

the  court  above,  but  the  court  determines  upon  the  circum- 
stances appearing  upon  the  record.  If  I  am  right,  the  plain 
inference  is,  that  there  may  be  a  trial  in  the  inferior  courts, 
and  that  the  record,  including  the  testimony,  may  be  sent  to 
the  Supreme  Court.  But  if  there  is  a  necessity  for  a  jury 
in  the  Supreme  Court,  it  will  l)e  a  very  easy  matter  to  em- 
panel a  jury  at  the  bar  of  the  Supreme  Court,  which  may 
save  great  expense,  and  be  very  convenient  to  the  people 
It  is  impossible  to  make  every  regulation  at  once.  Congress, 
who  are  our  own  representatives,  will  undoubtedly  make 
such  regulations  as  will  suit  the  c  onvenience  and  secure  the 
liberty  of  the  people. 

Mr.  IREDELL  declared  it  as  his  opinion  that  there  might 
be  juries  in  the  Superior  Court  as  well  as  in  the  inferior  courts, 
and  that  it  was  in  the  power  of  Congress  to  regulate  it  so. 

Tuesday,  July  29,  178a 

Mr.  KENNION  in  the  chair. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  hope  to  be  excused 
for  making  some  observations  on  what  was  said  yesterday, 
by  gentlemen,  in  favor  of  these  two  clauses.  The  motion 
which  was  made  that  the  committee  should  rise,  precluded 
me  from  speaking  then.  The  gentlemen  have  showed  much 
moderation  and  candor  in  conducting  this  business ;  but  I 
still  think  that  my  observations  are  well  founded,  and  that 
some  amendments  are  necessary.  The  gentleman  said,  all 
matters  not  given  up  by  this  form  of  government  were  re- 
tained by  the  respective  states.  I  know  that  it  ought  to  be 
so ;  it  is  the  general  doctrine,  but  it  is  necessary  that  it 
should  be  expressly  declared  in  the  Constitution,  and  not 
left  to  mere  construction  and  opinion.  I  am  authorized  to 
say  it  was  heretofore  thought  necessary.  The  Confedera- 
tion says,  expressly,  that  all  that  was  not  given  up  by  the 
United  States  was  retained  by  the  respective  states.  If  such 
a  clause  had  been  inserted  in  this  Constitution,  it  would 
have  superseded  the  necessity  of  a  bill  of  rights.  But  that  not 
being  the  case,  it  was  necessary  that  a  bill  of  rights,  or  some- 
thing of  that  kind,  should  be  a  part  of  the  Constitution.  It  was 
observed  that,  as  the  Constitution  is  to  be  a  delegation  of 
power  from  the  several  states  to  the  United  States,  a  bill  of 
rights  was  unnecessary.  But  it  will  be  noticed  that  this  is 
a  different  case. 


The  states  do  not  act  in  their  political  capacities,  but  ihe 
^vernment  is  proposed  for  individuals.  The  very  caption 
of  the  Constitution  shows  that  this  is  the  case.  The  ex 
pression,  "  We,  the  people  of  the  United  States,"  shows 
that  this  government  is  intended  for  individuals ;  there  ought, 
therefore,  to  be  a  bill  of  rights.  I  am  ready  to  acknowledge 
that  the  Congress  ought  to  have  the  power  of  executing  its 
laws.  Heretofore,  because  all  the  laws  of  the  Confedera- 
tion were  binding  on  the  states  in  their  political  capacities, 
courts  had  nothing  to  do  with  them  ;  but  now  the  thing  is 
entirely  different.  The  laws  of  Congress  will  be  binding 
on  individuals,  and  those  things  which  concern  individuals 
will  be  brought  properly  before  the  courts.  In  'he  next 
place,  all  the  officers  are  to  take  an  oath  to  carry  into  execu- 
tion this  general  government,  and  are  bound  to  support  every 
act  of  the  government,  of  whatever  nature  it  may  be.  This 
is  a  fourth  reason  for  securing  the  rights  of  individuals.  It 
was  also  observed  that  the  federal  judiciary  and  the  courts 
of  the  states,  under  the  federal  authority,  would  have  con- 
carrent  jurisdiction  with  respect  to  any  subject  that  might 
arise  under  the  Constitution.  I  an>  ready  to  say  that  I  most 
heartily  wish  that,  whenever  this  government  takes  place, 
the  two  jurisdictions  and  the  two  governments  —  that  is,  the 
general  and  the  several  state  governments  —  may  go  hand 
ia  hand,  and  that  there  may  be  no  interference,  but  that 
every  thing  may  be  rightly  conducted.  But  I  will  never 
concede  that  it  is  proper  to  divide  the  business  between  the 
iwo  different  courts.  I  have  no  doubt  that  there  is  wisdom 
enough  in  this  state  to  decide  the  business,  without  the  ne- 
cessity of  federal  assistance  to  do  our  business.  The  worthy 
gentleman  from  Edenton  dwelt  a  considerable  time  on  the 
observations  on  a  bill  of  rights,  contending  that  they  were 
proper  only  in  monarchies,  which  were  founded  on  different 
principles  from  those  of  our  government;  and,  therefore, 
though  they  might  be  necessary  for  others,  yet  they  were 
not  necessary  for  us.  I  still  think  that  a  bill  of  rights  is 
necessary.  This  necessity  arises  from  the  nature  of  humaiY 
societies.  When  individuals  enter  into  society,  they  give  up 
some  rights  to  secure  the  rest.  There  are  certain  human 
rights  that  ought  not  to  be  given  up,  and  which  ought  iii 
some  manner  to  be  secured.  With  respect  to  these  great 
essential  rights,  ao  latitude  ought  to  be  left.  They  are  the 
VOL.    v.  20 

i  54  DEBA  TES.  [Spencer 

most  inestimable  gifts  of  the  great  Creator,  and  therefore 
ought  not  to  be  destroyed,  but  ought  to  be  secured.  The)' 
ought  to  be  secured  to  individuals  in  consideration  of  the 
other  rights  which  they  give  up  to  support  society. 

The  trial  by  jury  has  been  also  spoken  of.  Every  person 
who  is  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  liberty  need  nor  be  in- 
formed of  the  importance  of  this  trial.  Juries  are  called  the 
bulwarks  of  our  rights  and  liberty;  and  no  country  can  ever  be 
enslaved  as  long  as  those  cases  which  affect  their  lives  and 
property  are  to  be  decided,  in  a  great  measure,  by  the  con- 
sent of  twelve  honest,  disinterested  men,  taken  from  the  re- 
spectable body  of  yeomanry.  It  is  highly  improper  that  any 
clause  which  regards  the  security  of  the  trial  by  jury  should 
be  any  way  doubtful.  In  the  clause  that  has  been  read,  it 
is  ascertained  that  criminal  cases  are  to  be  tried  by  jury  in 
the  states  where  they  are  committed.  It  has  been  objected 
to  that  clause,  that  it  is  not  suiTici6Hitly  explicit.  I  think 
that  it  is  not.  It  was  observed  that  one  may  be  taken  to  a 
great  distance.  One  reason  of  the  resistance  to  the  British 
government  was,  because  they  required  that  we  should  be 
carried  to  the  country  of  Great  Britain,  to  be  tried  by  juries 
of  that  country.  But  we  insisted  on  being  tried  by  juries  of 
the  vicinage,  in  our  own  country.  I  think  it  therefore  proper 
that  something  explicit  should  be  said  with  respect  to  the 

With  regard  to  that  part,  that  the  Supreme  Court  shall 
have  appellate  jurisdiction  both  as  to  law  and  fact,  it  has 
been  observed  that,  though  the  federal  court  might  decide 
without  a  jury,  yet  the  court  below,  which  tried  it,  might 
have  a  jury.  I  ask  the  gentleman  what  benefit  would  be 
received  in  the  suit  by  having  a  jury  trial  in  the  court  below, 
when  the  verdict  is  set  aside  in  the  Supreme  Court.  It  was 
intended  by  this  clause  that  the  trial  by  jury  should  be  sup- 
pressed in  the  superior  and  inferior  courts.  It  has  been  said, 
in  defence  of  the  omission  concerning  the  trial  by  jury  in 
civil  cases,  that  one  general  regulation  could  not  be  made  ; 
that  in  several  cases  the  constitution  of  several  states  did  not 
require  a  trial  by  jury,  —  for  instance,  in  cases  of  equity  and 
admiralty,  —  whereas  in  others  it  did,  and  that,  therefore, 
it  was  proper  to  leave  this  subject  at  large.  I  am  sure  that, 
for  the  security  of  liberty,  they  ought  to  have  been  at  the 
pains  of  drawing  some  line.     I  think  that  the  respectable 

Davie.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  165 

body  who  formed  the' Constitution  should  have  gone  sc  iar 
as  to  put  matters  on  such  a  footing  as  that  there  should  be 
no  danger.  They  might  have  provided  that  all  those  cases 
which  are  now  triable  by  a  jury  should  be  tried  in  each  state 
by  a  jury,  according  to  the  mode  usually  practised  in  such 
state.  This  would  have  been  easily  done,  if  they  had  been 
at  the  trouble  of  writing  five  or  six  lines.  Had  it  been  done, 
we  should  have  been  entitled  to  say  that  our  rights  and  liber- 
ties were  not  endangered.  If  we  adopt  this  clause  as  it  is,  I 
think,  notwithstanding  what  gentlemen  have  said,  that  there 
will  be  danger.  There  ought  to  be  some  amendments  to  it, 
to  put  this  matter  on  a  sure  footing.  There  does  not  appear 
to  me  to  be  any  kind  of  necessity  that  the  federal  court 
should  have  jurisdiction  in  the  body  of  the  country.  I  am 
ready  to  give  up  that,  in  the  cases  expressly  enumerated,  an 
appellate  jurisdiction  (except  in  one  or  two  instances)  might 
be  i^iven.  I  wish  them  also  to  have  jurisdiction  in  maritime 
affairs,  and  to  try  offences  committed  on  the  high  seas.  But 
in  the  body  of  a  state,  the  jurisdiction  of  the  courts  in  that 
state  might  extend  to  carrying  into  execution  the  laws  of 
Congress.  It  must  be  unnecessary  for  the  federal  courts  to 
do  it,  and  would  create  trouble  and  expense  which  might  be 
avoided.  In  all  cases  where  appeals  are  proper,  I  will  agree 
that  it  is  necessary  there  should  be  one  Supreme  Court. 
Were  those  things  properly  regulated,  so  that  the  Supreme 
Court  might  not  be  oppressive,  I  should  have  no  objection 
to  it. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  yesterday  and  to-day  1 
have  given  particular  attention  to  the  observations  of  the  gen- 
tleman last  up.  I  believe,  however,  that,  before  we  take 
into  consideration  these  important  clauses,  it  will  be  neces- 
sary to  consider  in  what  manner  laws  can  be  executed.  For 
my  own  part,  I  know  but  two  ways  in  which  the  laws  can 
be  executed  by  any  government.  If  there  be  any  other,  it 
is  unknown  to  me.  The  first  mode  is  coercion  by  military 
force,  and  the  second  is  coercion  through  the  judiciary. 
With  respect  to  coercion  by  force,  I  shall  suppose  that  it  is 
so  extremely  repugnant  to  the  principles  of  justice  and  the 
feelings  of  a  free  people,  that  no  man  will  support  it.  It 
must,  in  the  end,  terminate  in  the  destruction  of  the  liberty 
of  the  people.  I  take  it,  therefore,  that  there  is  no  rational 
way  of  enforcing  the  laws  but  by  the  instrumentality  of  thb 

156  DEBATES.  [DAvir 

judiciary.  From  these  premises  we  are  left  only  to  consider 
how  far  the  jurisdiction  of  the  judiciary  ought  to  extend.  It 
appears  to  me  that  the  judiciary  ought  to  be  competent  to 
the  decision  of  any  question  arising  out  of  the  Constitution 
Itself.  On  a  review  of  the  principles  of  all  free  governments, 
it  seems  to  me  also  necessary  that  the  judicial  power  should 
be  coextensive  with  the  legislative. 

It  is  necessary  in  all  governments,  but  particularly  in  a 
federal  government,  that  its  judiciary  should  be  competent 
to  the  decision  of  all  questions  arising  out  of  the  constitu- 
tion. If  I  understand  the  gentleman  right,  his  objection 
was  not  to  the  defined  jurisdiction,  but  to  the  general  juris- 
diction, which  is  expressed  thus:  "The  judicial  power  shall 
extend  to  all  cases  in  law  and  equity  arising  under  this  Con- 
stitution, the  laws  of  the  United  States,  and  treaties  made, 
or  which  shall  be  made,  under  their  authority ; "  and  also 
the  appellate  jurisdiction  in  some  instances.  Every  member 
who  has  read  the  Constitution  with  attention  must  observe 
that  there  are  certain  fundamental  principles  in  it,  both  of  a 
positive  and  negative  nature,  which,  being  intended  for  the 
general  advantage  of  the  community,  ought  not  to  be  vio- 
lated by  any  future  legislation  of  the  particular  states.  Every 
member  will  agree  that  the  positive  regulations  ought  to  be 
carried  into  execution,  and  that  the  negative  restrictions 
ought  not  to  disregarded  or  violated.  Without  a  judiciary, 
the  injunctions  of  the  Constitution  may  be  disobeyed,  and 
the  positive  regulations  neglected  or  contravened.  There 
are  certain  prohibitory  provisions  in  this  Constitution,  the 
wisdom  and  propriety  of  which  must  strike  every  reflectingj^ 
mind,  and  certainly  meet  with  the  warmest  approbation  of 
every  citizen  of  this  state.  It  provides,  "  that  no  state  shal!^ 
without  the  consent  of  Congress,  lay  any  imposts  or  duties 
on  imports  or  exports,  except  what  may  be  absolutely  neces- 
sary for  executing  its  inspection  laws ;  that  no  preference 
shall  be  given,  by  any  regulation  of  commerce  or  revenue, 
to  the  ports  of  one  state  over  those  of  another;  and  that  no 
state  shall  emit  bills  of  credit,  make  any  thing  but  gold  and 
silver  coin  a  tender  in  payment  of  debts,  pass  any  bill  of 
attainder,  ex  post  facto  law,  or  law  impairing  the  obligation 
of  contracts."  These  restrictions  ought  to  supersede  the 
laws  of  particular  states.  With  respect  to  the  prohibitory 
provisioir — that  no  duty  or  impost  shall  be  laid  by  any  par- 

Datie.]  north  CAROLINA.  1 57 

ticular  state — which  is  so  highly  in  favor  of  us  and  the  othe^* 
Don -importing  states,  the  importing  states  might  make  laws 
laying  dutit's  notwithstanding,  and  the  Constitution  might 
be  violated  with  impunity,  if  there  were  no  power  in  the 
general  government  to  correct  and  counteract  such  laws. 
This  great  object  can  only*  be  safely  and  completely  ob- 
tained by  the  instrumentality  of  the  federal  judiciary.  Would 
not  Virginia,  who  has  raised  many  thousand  pounds  out  of 
our  citizens  by  her  imposts,  still  avail  herself  of  the  same 
advantage  if  there  were  no  constitutional  power  to  counter- 
act her  regulations?  If  cases  arising  under  the  Constitution 
were  left  to  her  own  courts,  might  she  not  still  continue  the 
same  practices  ?  But  we  are  now  to  look  for  justice  to  the 
controlling  power  of  the  judiciary  of  the  United  States.  If 
the  Virginians  were  to  continue  to  oppress  us  by  laying 
duties,  we  can  be  relieved  by  a  recurrence  to  the  general 
judiciary.  This  restriction  in  the  Constitution  is  a  funda- 
mental principle,  which  is  not  to  be  violated,  but  which 
would  have  been  a  dead  letter,  were  there  no  judiciary  con* 
stituted  to  enforce  obedience  to  it.  Paper  money  and  private 
contracts  were  in  the  same  condition.  Without  a  general 
controlling  judiciary,  laws  might  be  made  in  particular  states 
to  enable  its  citizens  to  defraud  the  citizens  of  other  states. 
Is  it  probable,  if  a  citizen  of  South  Carglina  owed  a  sum  of 
money  to  a  citizen  of  this  state,  that  the  latter  would  be 
certain  of  recovering  the  full  value  in  their  courts?  That 
state  might  in  futiu-e,  as  they  have  already  done,  make  pine- 
barren  acts  to  discharge  their  debts.  They  might  say  that 
our  citizens  should  be  paid  in  sterile,  inarable  lands,  at  an 
extrav2igant  price.  They  might  pass  the  most  iniquitous 
instalment  laws,  procrastinating  the  payment  of  debts  due 
from  their  citizens,  for  years  —  nay,  for  ages.  Is  it  probable 
that  we  should  get  justice  from  their  ovyn  judiciary,  who 
might  consider  themselves  obliged  to  obey  the  laws  of  their 
own  state?  Where,  then,  are  we  to  look  for  justice  ?  To 
the  judiciary  of  the  United  States.  Gentlemen  must  have 
observed  the  contracted  and  narrow-minded  regulations  of 
the  individual  states,  and  their  predominant  disposition  to 
advance  the  interests  of  their  own  citizens  to  the  prejudice 
of  others.  Will  not  these  evils  be  continued  if  there  be  no 
lestraint  ?  The  people  of  the  United  States  have  one  com- 
mon interest;  they  are  all  members  of  the  same  community, 


158  DEBATES.  [Datir. 


and  ought  to  have  justice  administered  to  them  equally  in 
every  part  of  the  continent,  in  the  same  manner,  with  the 
same  des|)atch,  and  on  the  same  principles.  It  is  therefore 
absolutely  necessary  that  the  judiciary  of  the  Union  should 
have  jurisdiction  in  all  cases  arising  in  law  and  equity  under 
the  Constitution.  Surely  there  should  be  somewhere  a 
constitutional  authority  for  carrying  into  execution  constitu- 
tional provisions ;  otherwise,  as  I  have  already  said,  they 
would  be  a  dead  letter. 

With  respect  to  their  having  jurisdiction  of  all  cases  arising 
under  the  laws  of  the  United  States,  although  I  have  a  very 
high  respect  for  the  gentleman,  I  heard  his  objection  to  it 
with  surprise.  I  thought,  if  there  were  any  political  axiom 
under  the  sun,  it  must  be,  that  the  judicial  power  ought  to  be 
coextensive  with  the  legislative.  The  federal  government 
ought  to  possess  the  means  of  carrying  the  laws  into  execu- 
tion. This  position  will  not  be  disputed.  A  government 
would  be  difelo  de  se  to  put  the  execution  of  its  laws  under 
the  control  of  any  other  body.  If  laws  are  not  to  be  carried 
into  execution  by  the  interposition  of  the  judiciary,  how  is  it 
to  be  done  ? 

I  have  already  observed  that  the  mind  of  every  honest 
man,  who  has  any  feeling  for  the  happiness  of  his  country, 
must  have  the  highest  repugnance  to  the  idea  of  military 
coercion.  The  only  means,  then,  of  enforcing  obedience  to 
the  legislative  authority  must  be  through  the  medium  of  the 
officers  of  peace.  Did  the  gentleman  carry  his  oljjeciion  to 
the  extension  of  the  judicial  power  to  treaties  ?  It  is  another 
principle,  which  I  imagine  will  not  be  controverted,  that 
the  general  judiciary  ought  to  be  competent  to  the  decision 
of  all  questions  which  involve  the  general  welfare  or  peace 
of  the  Union.  It  was  necessary  that  treaties  should  operate 
as  laws  upon  individuals.  They  ought  to  be  binding  upon 
us  the  moment  they  are  made.  They  involve  in  their  na- 
ture not  only  our  own  rights,  but  those  of  foreigners.  If  the 
rights  of  foreigners  were  left  to  be  decided  ultimately  by 
thirteen  distinct  judiciaries,  there  would  necessarily  be  un- 
just and  contradictory  decisions.  If  our  courts  of  justice 
did  not  decide  in  favor  of  foreign  citizens  and  subjects  when 
they  ought,  it  might  involve  the  whole  Union  in  a  war: 
there  ought,  therefore,  to  be  a  paramount  tribunal,  which 
should  have  ample  power  to  carry  them  into  effect.     To  thn 

Datie.]  north  CAROUNA.  169 

decision  of  all  causes  which  might  involve  the  peace  of  the 
Union  may  be  referred,  also,  that  of  controversies  between 
the  citizens  or  subjects  of  foreign  states  and  the  citizens  of 
the  United  States.  It  has  been  laid  down  by  all  writers 
that  the  denial  of  justice  is  one  of  the  just  causes  of  war. 
If  these  controversies  were  left  to  the  decision  of  particular 
states,  it  would  be  in  their  power,  at  any  time,  to  involve 
the  continent  in  a  war,  usually  the  greatest  of  all  national 
calamities.  It  is  certainly  clear  that  where  the  peace  of  the 
Union  is  affected,  the  general  judiciary  ought  to  decide.  It 
has  generally  been  given  up,  that  all  cases  of  admiralty  and 
maritime  jurisdiction  should  also  be  determined  by  them. 
It  has  been  equally  ceded,  by  the  strongest  opposers  to  this 
government,  that  the  federal  courts  should  have  cognizance 
of  controversies  between  two  or  more  states,  between  a  state 
and  the  citizens  of  another  state,  and  between  the  citizens 
of  the  same  state  claiming  Ipnds  under  the  grant  of  different 
states.  Its  jurisdiction  in  these  cases  is  necessary  to  secure 
impartiality  in  decisions,  and  preserve  tranquillity  among  the 
Slates.  It  is  impossible  that  there  should  be  impartiality 
when  a  party  affected  is  to  be  judge. 

The  security  of  impartiality  is  the  principal  reason  for 
giving  up  the  ultimate  decision  of  controversies  between 
citizens  of  different  states.  It  is  essential  to  the  interest 
of  agriculture  and  commerce  that  the  hands  of  the  states 
should  be  bound  from  making  paper  money,  instalment  laws, 
or  pine-barren  acts.  By  such  iniquitous  laws  the  merchant 
or  farmer  may  be  defrauded  of  a  considerable  part  of  his  just 
claims.  But  in  the  federal  court,  real  money  will  be  recov- 
ered  with  that  speed  which  is  necessary  to  accommodate  the 
circumstances  of  individuals.  The  tedious  delays  of  judicial 
proceedino:s,  at  present,  in  some  states,  are  ruinous  to  cred-  ^ 
iters.  In  Virginia,  many  suits  are  twenty  or  thirty  years 
spun  out  by  legal  ingenuity,  and  the  defective  construction 
of  their  judiciary.  A  citizen  of  Massachusetts  or  this  coun- 
trv  might  he  ruined  before  he  could  recover  a  debt  in  that 
stite.  It  is  necessary,  therefore,  in  order  to  obtain  justice, 
that  we  recur  to  the  judiciary  of  the  United  States,  where 
justice  must  be  equally  administered,  and  where  a  debt  may 
be  recovered  from  the  citizen  of  one  state  as  soon  as  from 
the  citizen  of  another. 

As  to  a  bill  of  rights,  which  has  been  brought  forward  in 

IbO  DEBATES.  [Maclaimc 

a  manner  I  cannot  account  for,  it  is  unnecessary  to  say  any 
thing.  The  learned  gentleman  has  said  that,  by  a  concur- 
rent jurisdiction,  the  laws  of  the  United  States  must  neces- 
sarily clash  with  the  laws  of  the  individual  states,  in  conse- 
quence of  which  the  laws  of  the  states  will  be  obstructed, 
and  the  state  governments  absorbed.  This  cannot  be  the 
case.  There  is  not  one  instance  of  a  power  given  to  the 
United  States,  whereby  the  internal  policy  or  administration 
of  the  states  is  affected.  There  is  no  instance  that  can  be 
pointed  out  wherein  the  internal  policy  of  the  state  can  be 
affected  by  the  judiciary  of  the  United  States.  He  men- 
tioned impost  laws.  It  has  been  given  up,  on  all  hands, 
that,  if  there  was  a  necessity  of  a  federal  court,  it  was  oo 
this  account.  Money  is  difficult  to  be  got  into  the  treasury. 
The  power  of  the  judiciary  to  enforce  the  federal  laws  is 
necessary  to  facilitate  the  collection  of  the  public  revenues* 
It  is  well  known,  in  this  state,  with  what  reluctance  and 
backwardness  collectors  pay  up  the  public  moneys.  We 
have  been  making  laws  after  laws  to  remedy  this  evil,  and 
still  find  them  ineffectual.  Is  it  not,  therefore,  necessary  tc 
enable  the  general  government  to  compel  the  delinquent  re- 
ceivers to  be  punctual  ?  The  honorable  gentleman  admits 
that  the  general  government  ought  to  legislate  upon  indi- 
viduals, instead  of  states. 

Its  laws  will  otherwise  be  ineffectual,  but  particularly  with 
respect  to  treaties.  We  have  seen  with  what  little  ceremo- 
ny the  states  violated  the  peace  with  Great  Britain.  Con- 
gress had  no  power  to  enforce  its  observance.  The  same 
cause  will  produce  the  same  effect.  We  need  not  flatter 
ourselves  that  similar  violations  will  always  meet  with  (H|uai 
impunity.  I  think  he  must  be  of  opinion,  upon  reflection, 
that  the  jurisdiction  of  the  federal  judiciary  could  not  have 
been  constructed  otherwise  with  safety  or  propriety.  It  is 
necessary  that  the  Constitution  should  be  carried  into  effect, 
that  the  laws  should  be  executed,  justice  equally  done  to 
all  the  community,  and  treaties  observed.  These  ends  can 
only  be  accomplished  by  a  general,  paramount  judiciary. 
These  are  my  sentiments,  and  if  the  honorable  gentleman 
will  prove  them  erroneous,  I  shall  readily  adopt  his  opinions. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  beg  leave  to  make 
a  few  observations.  One  of  the  gentleman's  objections  to 
the  Constitution  now  under  consideration  is,  that  it  is  not 

Maclainb.]  north  CAROLINA.  Itil 

the  act  of  the  states,  but  of  the  people  ;  but  that  it  ought  to 
be  the  act  of  the  states ;  and  he  instances  ^he  delegation  of 
power  by  the  states  to  the  Confederation,  at  the  commence- 
ment of  the  war,  as  a  proof  of  this  position.  I  hope,  sir, 
that  all  power  is  in  the  people,  and  not  in  the  state  govern- 
ments. If  he  will  not  deny  the  authority  of  the  people  to 
delegate  power  to  agents,  and  to  devise  such  a  government 
as  a  majority  of  ihem  thinks  will  promote  their  happiness, 
he  will  withdraw  his  objection.  The  people,  sir,  are  the 
only  proper  authority  to  form  a  government.  They,  sir, 
have  formed  their  state  governments,  and  can  alter  them  at 
pleasure.  Their  transcendent  power  is  competent  to  form 
this  or  any  other  government  which  they  think  promotive  of 
their  happiness.  But  the  gentleman  contends  that  there 
ought  to  be  a  bill  of  rights,  or  something  of  that  kind  — * 
something  declaring  expressly,  that  all  power  not  expressly 
given  to  the  Constitution  ought  to  be  retained  by  the  states  ^ 
and  he  produces  the  Confederation  as  an  authority  for  its 
necessity.  When  the  Confederation  was  made,  we  were 
by  no  means  so  well  acquainted  with  the  principles  of  gov- 
ernment as  we  are  now.  We  were  then  jealous  of  the 
power  of  our  rulers,  and  had  an  idea  of  the  British  govern- 
ment when  we  entertained  that  jealousy.  There  is  no  peo- 
ple on  earth  so  well  acquainted  with  the  nature  of  govern- 
ment as  the  people  of  America  generally  are.  We  know 
ngw  that  it  is  agreed  upon  by  most  writers,  and  men  of 
judgment  and  reflection,  that  all  power  is  in  the  people, 
and  immediately  derived  from  them.  The  gentleman  surely 
must  know  that,  if  there  be  certain  rights  which  never  can, 
nor  ought  to,  be  piven  up,  these  rights  cannot  be  said  to  be 
given  away,  merely  because  we  have  omitted  to  say  that  we 
have  not  given  them  up.  Can  any  security  arise  from  de- 
claring that  we  have  a  right  to  what  belongs  to  us  ?  Where 
is  the  necessity  of  such  a  declaration  ?  If  we  have  this  in- 
herent, this  unalienable,  this  indefeasible  title  to  those  rights, 
if  they  are  not  given  up,  are  they  not  retained?  If  Con- 
gress should  make  a  law  beyond  the  powers  and  the  spirit 
of  the  Constitution,  should  we  not  say  to  Congress,  "  You 
have  no  authority  to  make  this  law.  There  are  limits  be- 
yond which  you  cannot  go.  You  cannot  exceed  the  power 
prescribed  by  the  Constitution.     You  are  amenable  to  us. for 

VOL.    IV.  21 

162  DEBATES.  [Maciminb. 

your  conduct.     This  act  is  unconstitutional.     We  will  dis- 
regard it,  and  punish  you  for  the  attempt." 

But  the  gentleman  seems  to  be  most  tenacious  of  the 
judicial  power  of  the  states.  The  honorable  gentleman 
must  know,  that  the  doctrine  of  reservation  of  power  not 
relinquished,  ckarly  demonstrates  that  the  judicial  power  of 
the  states  is  not  impaired.  He  asks,  with  respect  to  the 
trial  by  jury,  "  When  the  cause  has  gone  up  to  the  superior 
court,  and  the  verdict  is  set  aside,  what  benefit  arises  from 
having  had  a  jury  trial  in  the  inferior  court  ?  "  I  would  ask 
the  gentleman,  "  What  is  the  reason,  that,  on  a  special  ver- 
dict or  case  agreed,  the  decision  is  left  to  the  court  ?  " 
There  are  a  number  of  cases  where  juries  cannot  decide. 
When  a  jury  finds  the  fact  specially,  or  when  it  is  agreed 
upon  by  the  parties,  the  decision  is  referred  to  the  court. 
If  the  law  be  against  the  party,  the  court  decides  against 
him ;  if  the  law  be  for  him,  the  court  judges  accordingly. 
He,  as  well  as  every  gentleman  here,  must  know  that,  un- 
der the  Confederation,  Congress  set  aside  juries.  There 
was  an  appeal  given  to  Congress :  did  Congress  determine 
by  a  jury  ?  Every  party  carried  his  testimony  in  writing 
to  the  judges  of  appeal,  and  Congress  determined  upon  it. 

The  distinction  between  matters  of  law  and  of  fact  has 
not  been  sufficiently  understood,  or  has  been  intentionally 
misrepresented.  On  a  demurrer  in  law,  in  which  the  facts 
are  agreed  upon  by  the  parties,  the  law  arising  thereupon 
is  referred  to  the  court.  An  inferior  court  may  give  an  er- 
roneous judgment ;  an  appeal  may  be  had  from  this  court 
to  the  Supreme  Federal  Court,  and  a  right  decision  had. 
This  is  an  instance  wherein  it  can  have  cognizance  of  mat- 
ter of  law  solely.  In  cases  where  the  existence  of  facts  has 
been  first  disputed  by  one  of  the  parties,  and  afterwards  es- 
tablished as  in  a  special  verdict,  the  consideration  of  these 
facts,  blended  with  the  law,  is  left  .to  the  court.  In  such 
cases,  inferior  courts  may  decide  contrary  to  justice  and  law, 
and  appeals  may  be  had  to  the  Supreme  Court.  This  is  an 
instance  wherein  it  may  be  said  they  have  jurisdiction  l)oih 
as  to  law  and  fact.  But  where  facts  only  are  disputed,  and 
where  they  are  once  established  by  a  verdict,  the  opinion  of 
the  judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  cannot,  1  conceive,  set 
aside  these  far>ts ;  for  I  do  not  think  they  have  the  powei 
so  to  do  bv  this  Constitution. 

Spencer.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  16b 

Xhe  federal  court  has  jurisdiction  only  in  some  instances. 
There  are  many  instances  in  which   no  court  but  the  state 
courts  can  have  any  jurisdiction  whatsoever,  except  when> 
parties  claim  land  under  the  grant  of  different  states,  or  the 
subject  of  dispute  arises  under  the  Constitution  itself.     The 
state  courts  have  exclusive  jurisdiction  over  every  other  pos- 
sible controversy  that  can  arise  l:)etwpen  the  inhabitants  of 
their  own  states  ;  nor  can   the  federal  courts  intermeddle 
with  such  disputes,  either  originally  or  by  appeal.     There  is 
a    number  of  other  instances,  where,  though  jurisdiction  is 
given   to  the  federal  court,  it  is  not  taken  away  from  the 
state  courts.     If  a  man  in  South  Carolina  owes  me  money, 
I  can  bring  suit  in  the  courts  of  that  state,  as  well  as  in  any 
inferior  federal  court.     1  think   gentlemen  cannot  but  see 
the  propriety  of  leaving  to  the  general  government  the  reg- 
ulation of  the  inferior  federal  tribunals.     This  is  a  power 
which  our  own  state  legislature  has.    We  may  trust  Congress 
as  well  as  them. 

Mr.  SPENCER  answered,  that  the  gentleman  last  up 
Kad  misunderstood  him.  He  did  not  object  to  the  caption 
of  the  Constitution,  but  he  instanced  it  to  show  that  the 
United  States  were  not,  merely  as  states,  the  objects  of  the 
Constitution  ;  but  that  the  laws  of  Congress  were  to  operate 
upon  individuals,  and  not  upon  states.  He  then  continued : 
1  do  not  mean  to  contend  that  the  laws  of  the  general  gov- 
ernment should  not  operate  upon  individuals.  I  before  ob- 
served that  this  was  necessary,  as  laws  could  not  be  put  in 
execution  against  states  without  the  agency  of  the  sword, 
which,  instead  of  answering  the  ends  of  government,  would  . 
destroy  it.  I  endeavored  to  show  that,  as  the  government 
was  not  to  operate  against  states,  but  against  individuals,  the 
rights  of  individuals  ought  to  be  properly  secured.  In  order 
to  constitute  this  security,  it  appears  to  me  there  ought  to 
l>e  such  a  clause  in  the  Constitution  as  there  was  in  the  Con- 
federation, expressly  declaring,  that  every  power,  jurisdiction, 
and  right,  which  are  not  given  up  by  it,  remain  in  the  states. 
Such  a  clause  would  render  a  bill  of  rights  unnecessary. 
But  as  there  is  no  such  clause,  I  contend  that  there  should 
be  a  bill  of  rights,  ascertaining  and  securing  the  great  rights 
rf  the  staters  and  people.  Besides  my  objection  to  the  revis- 
ion of  facts  by  the  federal  court,  and  the  insecurity  of  jury 
triaJ,  1  consider  the  concurrent  jurisdiction  of  those  courts 

tt>4  DEBATES.  [Iredell 

with  the*  state  courts  as  extremely  dangerous.  It  must  be 
obvious  to  every  one  that,  if  they  have  such  a  concurrent 
jurisdiction,  they  must  in  time  take  away  the  business  from 
the  state  courts  entirely.  I  do  not  deny  the  propriety  of 
having  federal  courts  ;  but  they  should  be  confined  to  federal 
business,  and  ought  not  to  interfere  in  those  cases  where  the 
state  courts  are  fully  competent  to  decide.  The  state  courts 
can  do  their  business  without  federal  assistance.  I  do  not 
know  how  far  any  gentleman  may  suppose  that  I  may,  from 
my  office,  be  biased  in  favor  of  the  state  jurisdiction.  I  am 
no  more  interested  than  any  other  individual.  I  do  not  think 
it  will  affect  the  respectable  office  which  I  hold.  Those 
courts  will  not  take  place  immediately,  and  even  when  they 
do,  it  will  be  a  long  time  before  their  concurrent  jurisdiction 
will  materially  affect  the  state  judiciaries.  I  therefore  con- 
sider myself  as  disinterested.  I  only  wish  to  have  the  gov* 
ernment  so  constructed  as  to  promote  the  happiness,  harmony, 
and  liberty,  of  every  individual  at  home,  and  render  us  re- 
spectable as  a  nation  abroad.  I  wish  the  question  to  be 
decided  coolly  and  calmly  —  with  moderation,  candor,  and 

Mr.  MACLAINE  replied,  that  the  gentleman's  objections 
to  the  want  of  a  bill  of  rights  had  been  sufficiently  answered; 
that  the  federal  jurisdiction  was  well  guarded,  and  that  the 
federal  courts  had  not,  in  his  opinion,  cognizance,  in  any  one 
case,  where  it  could  be  alone  vested  in  the  state  judiciaries 
with  propriety  or  safety.  The  gentleman,  he  said,  had  ac- 
knowledged that  the  laws  of  the  Union  could  not  be  ex- 
ecuted under  the  existing  government ;  and  yet  he  objected 
to  the  federal  judiciary's  having  cognizance  of  such  laws, 
though  it  was  the  only  probable  means  whereby  they  could 
be  enforced.  The  treaty  of  peace  with  Great  Britain  was 
the  supreme  law  of  the  land ;  yet  it  was  disregarded,  for 
want  of  a  federal  judiciary.  The  state  judiciaries  did  not 
enforce  an  observance  of  it.  The  state  courts  were  highly 
improper  to  be  intrusted  with  the  execution  of  the  federal 
laws,  as  they  were  bound  to  judge  according  to  the  state 
laws,  which  might  be  repugnant  to  those  of  the  Union. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  beg  leave  to  make  a 
few  observations  on  some  remarks  that  have  been  made  on 
this  pan  of  the  Constitution.  The  honorable  gentleman 
said  that  it  was  very  extraordinary  that  the  Convention  should 

laiDBLL.!  NORTH  CAROUNA.  165 

not  have  taken  the  trouble  to  make  an  addition  of  five  or 
six  lines,  to  secure  the  trial  by  jury  in  civil  cases.  Sir,  if 
by  the  addition,  not  only  of  five  or  six  lines,  but  of  five  or 
six  hundred  lines,  this  invaluable  object  could  have  been 
secured,  I  should  have  thought  the  Convention  criminal  in 
omitting  it;  and  instead  of  meriting  the  thanks  of  their 
country,  as  I  think  they  do  now,  they  might  justly  have 
met  with  its  resentment  and  indignation.  I  am  persuaded 
the  omission  arose  from  the  real  difficulty  of  the  case.  The 
gentleman  says  that  a  mode  might  h^ve  been  provided, 
whereby  the  trial  by  jury  might  have  been  secured  satis- 
factorily to  all  the  states.  I  call  on  him  to  show  that  mode. 
I  know  of  none ;  nor  do  I  think  it  possible  for  any  man  to 
devise  one  to  which  some  states  would  not  have  objected.  It 
is  said,  indeed,  that  it  might  have  been  provided  that  it  should 
be  as  it  had  been  heretofore.  Had  this  been  the  case,  surely 
it  would  have  been  highly  incongruous. 

The  trial  by  jury  is  diflrerent,in  different  states.  It  is  reg- 
ulated in  one  way  in  the  state  of  North  Carolina,  and  in 
another  way  in  the  state  of  Virginia.  It  is  established  in  a 
different  way  from  either  in  several  other  states.  Had  it, 
then,  been  inserted  in  the  Constitution,  that  the  trial  by  jury 
should  be  as  it  had  been  heretofore,  there  would  have  been 
an  example,  for  the  first  time  in  the  world,  of  a  judiciary 
belonging  to  the  same  government  being  different  in  differ- 
ent parts  of  the  same  country.  What  would  you  think  of 
an  act  of  Assembly  which  should  require  the  trial  by  jury  to 
be  had  in  one  mode  in  the  county  of  Orange,  and  in  another 
mode  in  Granville,  and  in  a  manner  different  from  both  in 
Chatham  ?  Such  an  act  of  Assembly,  so  manifestly  inju- 
dicious, impolitic,  and  unjust,  would  be  repealed  next  year. 

But  what  would  you  say  of  our  Constitution,  if  it  au- 
thorized such  an  absurditv  ?  The  mischief,  then,  could  not 
be  removed  without  altering  the  Constitution  itself.  It 
must  be  evident,  therefore,  that  the  addition  contended  for 
would  not  have  answered  the  purpose.  If  the  method  of 
any  particular  state  had  been  established,  it  would  have  been 
objected  to  by  others,  because,  whatever  inconveniences  it 
might  have  been  attended  with,  nothing  but  a  change  in  the 
Constitution  itself  could  have  removed  them:  whereas,  as  it 
U  now,  if  any  mode  established  by  Congress  is  found  in- 
tonvenient,  it  can  easil}  b )  altered  by  a  single  act  of  legi.«- 

166  DEBATES.  [Irkdkli. 

lation  Let  any  gentleman  consider  the  diffitjilties  in  which 
the  Convention  was  placed.  A  union  was  absolutely  neces- 
sary. Every  thing  could  be  agreed  upon  except  the  regu- 
lation of  the  trial  by  jury  in  civil  cases.  They  were  all 
anxious  to  establish  it  on  the  best  footing,  but  found  they 
could  fix  upon  no  permanent  rule  that  was  not  liable  to  great 
objections  and  difficulties.  If  they  could  not  agree  among 
themselves,  they  had  still  less  reason  to  believe  that  all  the 
states  would  have  unanimously  agreed  to  any  one  plan  that 
could  l)e  proposed.  They,  therefore,  thought  it  better  to 
leave  all  such  regulations  to  the  legislature  itself,  conceiving 
there  could  be  no  real  danger,  in  this  case,  from  a  body  com- 
posed of  our  own  representatives,  who  could  have  no  temp- 
tation to  undermine  this  excellent  mode  of  trial  in  civil  cases, 
and  who  would  have,  indeed,  a  personal  interest,  in  common 
with  others,  in  making  the  administration  of  justice  between 
man  and  man  secure  and  easy. 

In  criminal  cases,  however,  no  latitude  ought  to  be  al- 
lowed. In  these  the  greatest  danger  from  any  government 
subsists,  and  accordingly  it  is  provided  that  there  shall  be 
a  trial  by  jury,  in  all  such  cases,  in  the  state  wherein  the 
offence  is  committed.  I  thought  the  objection  against  the 
want  of  a  bill  of  rights  had  been  obviated  unanswerably. 
It  appears  to  me  most  extraordinary.  Shall  we  give  up  any 
thing  but  what  is  positively  granted  by  that  instrument? 
It  would  be  the  greatest  absurdity  for  any  man  to  pretend 
that,  when  a  legislature  is  formed  for  a  particular  purpose,  it 
can  have  any  authority  but  what  is  so  expressly  given  to  it, 
any  more  than  a  man  acting  under  a  power  of  attorney  could 
depart  from  the  authority  it  conveyed  to  him,  according  to 
an  instance  which  I  stated  when  speaking  on  the  subject 
before.  As  for  example  :  —  if  I  had  three  tracts  of  land,  one 
in  Orange,  another  in  Caswell,  and  another  in  Chatham, 
and  I  gave  a  power  of  attorney  to  a  man  to  sell  the  two 
tracts  in  Orange  and  Caswell,  and  he  should  attempt  to  sell 
my  land  in  Chatham,  would  any  man  of  common  sense  sup- 
pose he  had  authority  to  do  so  ?  In  like  manner,  I  say,  the 
future  Congress  can  have  no  right  to  exercise  any  power 
but  what  is  contained  in  that  paper.  Negative  words,  in 
my  opinion,  could  make  the  matter  no  plainer  than  it  was 
before.  The  gentleman  says  that  unalienable  rights  ought 
not  10  be  given  up.     Those  rights  which  are  unalienable^ 

Bloodworth.]  north    CAROLINA  16"* 

are  not  alienated.  They  still  remain  with  the  great  bodj 
of  the  people.  If  any  right  be  given  up  that  ought  not  to 
be,  let  it  be  shown.  Say  it  is  a  thing  which  affects  your 
country,  and  that  it  ought  not  to  be  surrendered :  this 
would  le  reasonable.  But  when  it  is  evident  that  the  ex- 
ercise o!'  any  power  not  given  up  would  be  a  usurpation,  it 
would  be  not  only  useless,  but  dangerous,  to  enumerate  a 
number  of  rights  which  are  not  intended  to  be  given  up ; 
because  it  would  l)e  implying,  in  the  strongest  manner,  that 
every  right  not  included  in  the  exception  might  be  impaired 
by  the  government  without  usurpation ;  and  it  would  be 
impossible  to  enumerate  every  one.  Let  any  one  make 
what  collection  or  enumeration  of  rights  he  pleases,  I  will 
immediately  mention  twenty  or  thirty  more  rights  not  con- 
tained in  ii. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  have  listened 
with  attention  to  the  gentleman's  arguments;  but  whether 
it  be  for  want  of  sufficient  attention,  or  from  the  grossness 
of  my  ideas,  I  cannot  be  satisfied  with  his  defence  of  the 
omission,  with  respect  to  the  trial  by  jury.  He  says  that 
it  would  be  impossible  to  fall  on  any  satisfactory  mode  of 
regulating  the  trial  by  jury,  because  there  are  various  cus- 
toms relative  to  it  in  the  different  states.  Is  this  a  satisfac- 
tory cause  for  the  omission  ?  Why  did  it  not  provide  that 
the  trial  by  jury  should  be  preserved  in  civil  cases?  It  has 
said  that  the  trial  should  be  by  jury  in  criminal  cases ;  and 
vet  this  trial  is  different  in  its  manner  in  criminal  cases  in 
the  different  states.  If  it  has  been  possible  to  secure  it  in 
criminal  cases,  notwithstanding  the  diversity  concerning  it, 
why  has  it  not  been  possible  to  secure  it  in  civil  cases? 
I  wish  this  to  be  cleared  up.  By  its  not  being  provided  for, 
it  is  expressly  provided  against.  I  still  see  the  necessity  of 
a  bill  of  rights.  Gentlemen  use  contradictory  arguments  on 
this  subject,  if  I  recollect  right.  Without  the  most  express 
restrictions,  Cong^ress  may  trample  on  your  rights.  Every 
possible  precaution  should  be  taken  when  we  grant  powers. 
Rulers  are  always  disposed  to  abuse  them.  I  beg  leave  to 
call  gentlemen's  recollection  to  what  happened  under  our 
Confederation.  By  it,  nine  states  are  required  to  make  a 
treaty;  yet  seven  states  said  that  they  could,  with  propriety, 
repeal  part  of  the  instructions  given  our  secretary  for  foreign 
affairs,  which  prohibited  him  from  making  a  treaty  to  givf 

168  DEBATES.  [Locks 

up  the  Mississippi  to  Spain,  by  which  repeal  the  rest  of  his 
instructions  enabled  him  to  make  such  treaty.  Seven  states 
actually  did  repeal  the  prohibitory  part  of  these  instructions, 
and  they  insisted  it  was  legal  and  proper.  This  was  in  fart 
a  violation  of  the  Confederation.  If  gentlemen  thus  put 
what  construction  they  please  upon  words,  how  shall  we 
be  redressed,  if  Congress  shall  say  that  all  that  is  not  ex- 
pressed is  given  up,  and  they  assume  a  power  which  is 
expressly  inconsistent  with  the  rights  of  mankind  ?  Where 
is  the  power  to  pretend  to  deny  its  legality  ?  This  has  oc- 
curred to  me,  and  I  wish  it  to  be  explained. 

Mr.  SPENCER.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman  express- 
es admiration  as  to  what  we  object  with  respect  to  a  bill  of 
tights,  and  insists  that  what  is  not  given  up  in  the  Constitu- 
lion  is  retained.  He  must  recollect  I  said,  yesterday,  that 
we  could  not  guard  with  too  much  care  those  essential  rights 
and  liberties  which  ought  never  to  be  given  up.  There  is 
no  express  negative  —  no  fence  against  their  being  trampled 
upon.  They  might  exceed  the  proper  boundary  without 
htjing  taken  notice  of.  When  there  is  no  rule  but  a  vague 
dcctrine,  they  might  make  great  strides,  and  get  possession 
of  so  much  power  that  a  general  insurrection  of  the  people 
wuuld  be  necessary  to  bring  an  alteration  about.  But  if  a 
bc/undary  were  set  up,  when  the  Iwundary  is  passed,  the 
))copIe  would  take  notice  of  it  immediately.  These  are  the 
observations  which  I  made  ;  and  I  have  no  doubt  that,  when 
he  reflects,  he  will  acknowledge  the  necessity  of  it.  1  ac- 
knowledge, however,  that  the  doctrine  is  right ;  but  if  that 
Constitution  is  not  satisfactory  to  the  people,  I  would  have  a 
bill  of  rights,  or  something  of  that  kind,  to  satisfy  them. 

Mr.  LOCKE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  wish  to  throw  some  par- 
ticular light  upon  the  subject,  according  to  my  conceptions 
I  think  the  Constitution  neither  safe  nor  beneficial,  as  it 
grants  powers  unbounded  with  restrictions.  One  gentleman 
has  said  that  it  was  necessary  to  give  cognizance  of  causes 
to  the  federal  court,  because  there  was  partiality  in  the 
judges  of  the  states ;  that  the  state  judges  could  not  be 
depended  upon  in  causes  arising  under  the  Constitution  and 
law?  of  the  Union.  I  agree  that  impartiality  in  judges  is  in- 
dispensable ;  but  I  think  this  alteration  will  not  produce  more 
impartiality  than  there  is  now  in  our  courts,  whatever  evils 
it  may  bring  forth.     Must  there  not  be  judges  in  tlxg  federal 

Locke.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  J  69 

courts,  and  those  judges  taken  from  some  of  the  states  ^ 
The  same  partiality,  therefore,  may  be  in  them.  For  mj 
part,  1  think  it  derogatory  to  the  honor  of  this  state  to  give 
this  jurisdiction  to  the  federal  courts.  It  must  be  supposed 
that  the  same  passions,  dispositions,  and  failings  of  humanity 
which  attend  the  state  judges,  will  be  equally  the  lot  of  the 
federal  judges.  To  justify  giving  this  cognizance  to  those 
courts,  it  must  be  supposed  that  all  justice  and  equity  are 
given  up  at  once  in  the  states.  Such  reasoning  is  very 
strange  to  me.  I  fear  greatly  for  this  state,  and  for  other 
states.  I  find  there  has  a  considerable  stress  been  Inid  upon 
the  injustice  of  laws  made  heretofore.  Great  reflections  are 
thrown  on  South  Carolina  for  passing  pine-batren  and  instal- 
ment laws,  and  on  this  state  for  making  paper  money.  I 
wish  those  gentlemen  who  made  those  observations  would 
consider  the  necessity  which  compelled  us  in  a  great  measure 
to  make  such  money.  I  never  thought  the  law  which  au- 
thorized it  a  good  law.  If  the  evil  could  have  been  avoided, 
it  would  have  been  a  very  bad  law ;  but  necessity,  sir,  justi- 
fied it  in  some  degree.  I  believe  I  have  gained  as  little  by 
it  as  any  in  this  house.  If  we  are  to  judge  of  the  future  by 
what  we  have  seen,  we  shall  find  as  much  or  more  injustice 
in  Congress  than  in  our  legislature.  Necessity  compelled 
them  to  pass  the  law,  in  order  to  save  vast  numbers  of  peo- 
ple from  ruin.  1  hope  to  be  excused  in  observing  that  it 
would  have  been  hard  for  our  late  Continental  army  to  lay 
down  their  arms,  \%ith  which  they  had  valiantly  and  success- 
fully fought  for  their  country,  without  receiving  or  being 
promised  and  assured  of  some  compensation  for  their  past 
services.  What  a  situation  would  this  country  have  been  in, 
if  they  had  had  the  power  over  the  purse  and  sword!  If 
they  had  the  powers  given  up  by  this  Constitution,  what  a 
wretched  situation  would  this  country  have  been  in  !  Con- 
gress was  unable  to  pay  them,  but  passed  many  resolutions 
and  laws  in  their  favor,  particularly  one  that  each  slate  should 
make  up  the  depreciation  of  the  pay  of  the  Continental  line, 
who  were  distressed  for  the  want  of  an  adequate  compensa- 
tion for  their  services.  This  state  could  not  pay  her  pro(X)r- 
tion  in  ^specie.  To  have  laid  a  tax  for  that  purpose  would 
have  been  oppressive.  What  was  to  l)e  done  ?  The  only 
expedient  was  to  pass  a  law  to  make  paper  money,  and  make 
^t  a  tender.     l*he  Continental  line  was  satisfied,  and  ap- 

VOL.  IV.  22  15 

170  DEBATES.  [Iredell 

proved  of  the  measure,  it  being  done  at  their  instance  in 
some  degree.  Notwithstanding  it  was  supposed  to  be  highlj 
beneficial  to  the  state,  it  is  found  to  be  injurious  to  it. 
Saving  expense  is  a  very  great  object,  but  this  incurred 
much  expense.  This  subject  has  for  many  years  embroiled 
the  state ;  but  the  situation  of  the  country,  and  the  distress 
of  the  people  are  so  great,  that  the  public  measures  must  be 
accommodated  to  their  circumstances  with  peculiar  delicacy 
and  caution,  or  another  insurrection  may  be  the  consequence. 
As  to  what  the  gentleman  said  of  the  trial  by  jury,  it  sur- 
prises me  much  to  hear  gentlemen  of  such  great  abilities 
speak  such  language.  It  is  clearly  insecure,  nor  can  ingenu- 
ity and  subtle  arguments  prove  the  contrary.  I  trust  this 
country  is  too  sensible  of  the  value  of  liberty,  and  her  citi- 
zens have  lK)ught  it  too  dearly,  to  give  it  up  hastily. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  hope  some  other 
gentleman  will  answer  what  has  been  said  by  the  gentlemen 
who  have  spoken  last.  I  only  rise  to  answer  the  question  of 
the  member  from  New  Hanover  —  which  was,  if  there  was 
such  a  difficulty,  in  establishing  the  trial  by  jury  in  civil  cases, 
that  the  Convention  could  not  concur  in  any  mode,  why  the 
difficulty  did  not  extend  to  criminal  cases  ?  I  beg  leave  to 
say,  that  the  difficulty,  in  this  case,  does  not  depend  so  much 
on  the  mode  of  proceeding,  as  on  the  difference  of  the  sub- 
jects of  controversy,  and  the  laws  relative  to  them.  In 
some  states,  there  are  no  juries  in  admiralty  and  equity  cases. 
In  other  states,  there  are  juries  in  such  cases.  In  some 
states,  there  are  no  distinct  courts  of  equity,  though  in  most 
states  there  are.  I  believe  that,  if  a  uniform  rule  had  been 
fixed  by  the  Constitution,  it  would  have  displeased  some 
states  so  far  that  they  would  have  rejected  the  Constitution 
altogether.  Had  it  been  declared  generally,  as  the  gentle- 
man, mentioned,  it  would  have  included  equity  and  maritime 
cases,  and  created  a  necessity  of  deciding  them  in  a  manner 
different  from  that  in  which  they  have  been  decided  hereto- 
fore in  many  of  the  states  ;  which  would  very  probably  have 
met  with  the  disapprobation  of  those  stales. 

We  have  been  told,  and  I  believe  this  was  the  real  reason, 
why  tiTey  could  not  concur  in  any  general  rule.  I  havp  great 
respect  for  the  characters  of  those  gentlemen  who  formed  the 
Convention,  and  I  believe  they  were  not  capable  of  over- 
looking the  importance  of  the  trial  by  jury,  much  less  of 

«•  • 

Iredell.]  NORTH   CAROLLNA.  /l 

designedly  plotting  against  it.     But  I  fully  believe  that  tho 
real  diQiculty  of  the  thing  was  the  cause  of  the  omission.     I 
trust  sufticient  reasons  have  been  offered,  to  show  that  it  '15 
ill  no  danger.     As  to  criminal  cases,  I  must  observe  that  the 
^reai  instrument  of  arbitrary  power  is  criminal  prosecutions. 
By  the  privileges  of  the  habeas  corpus,  no  man  can  be  con- 
fined without  inquiry ;  and  if  it  should  appear  that  he  has 
luen   committed  contrary  to  law,  he  must  be  discharged- 
That  diversity  which  is  to  be  found  in  civil  controversies, 
does  not  exist  in  criminal  cases.     That  diversity  which  con- 
tributes to  the  security  of  property  in  civil  cases,  would  have 
pernicious  effects  in  criminal  ones.     There  is  no  other  safe 
mode  to  try  these  but  by  a  Jury.     If  any  man  had  the  means 
of  trying  another  his  own  way,  or  were  it  left  to  the  con- 
trol of  arbitrary  judges,  no  man  would  have  that  security  for 
life  and  liberty  which  every  freeman  ought  to  have.     I  pre- 
sume that  in  no  state  on  the  continent  is  a  man  tried  on  a 
criminal  accusation  but  by  a  jury.     It  was  necessary,  there- 
Tore,  that  it  should  be  fixed,  in  the  Constitution,  that  the  trial 
should  be  by  jury  in  criminal  cases;  and  such  difficulties  did 
not  occur  in  this  as  in  the  other  case.     The  worthy  geiitle- 
tnan  says,  that  by  not  being  provided  for  in  civil  cases,  it  is. 
t^xpressly  provided  against,  and  that  what  is  not  expressed 
is  given  up.     Were  it  so,  no  man  would  be  more  against 
this  Constitution  than  myself.     I  should  detest  and  oppose 
It  as  much  as  any  man.     But,  sir,  this  cannot  be  the  case. 
I  bt^g  leave  to  say  that  that  construction  appears  to  me  ab- 
surd and  unnatural.     As  it  could  not  be  fixed  either  on  the 
principles  of  uniformity  or  diversity,  it  mus.t  be  left  to  Con- 
gress to  modify  it.     If  they  establish  it  in  any  manner  by 
law,  and  find  it  inconvenient,  they  can  alter  it.     But  I  am 
convinced  that  a  majority  of  the  representatives  of  the  peo- 
ple will  never  attempt  to  establish  a  mode  oppressive  to 
their  constituents,  as  it  will  be  their  own  interest  to  take 
care  of  this  right      But  it  is  observed  that  there  ought  to  be 
a  fence  provided  against  future  encroachments  of  power.     If 
there  be  not  such  a  fence,  it  is  a  cause  of  objection.     I  read- 
ily agree  that  there  ought  to  be  such  a  fence.     The  instru- 
ment ought  to  contain  such  a  definition  of  authority  as  would 
leave  no  doubt;  and  if  there  be  any  ambiguity,  it  ought  not 
to  be  admitted.     He  says  this  construction  is  not  agreeable 
to  the  people,  though  he  acknowledges  it  is  a  right  one. 

172  DEBATES.  [Maclaini 

In  my  opinion,  there  is  no  man,  of  any  reason  at  all,  but 
must  be  satisfied  with  so  clear  and  plain  a  definition.  If 
the  Congress  should  claim  any  power  not  given  them,  it 
would  be  as  bare  a  usurpation  as  making  a  king  in  America. 
If  this  Constitution  be  adopted,  it  must  be  presumed  the  in- 
strument will  be  in  the  hands  of  every  man  in  America,  to 
see  whether  authority  be  usurped ;  and  any  person  by  in- 
specting it  may  see  if  the  power  claimed  be  enumerated.  If 
it  be  not,  he  will  know  it  to  be  a  usurpation. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chau-man,  a  gentleman  lately 
up  (Mr.  Locke)  has  informed  us  of  his  doubts  and  fears 
respecting  the  federal  courts.  He  is  afraid  for  this  state 
and  other  states.  He  supposes  that  the  idea  of  cognizance 
of  the  laws  of  the  Union  to  federal  courts,  must  have  arisen 
from  suspicions  of  partiality  and  want  of  common  integrity 
in  our  state  judges.  The  worthy  gentleman  is  mistaken  in 
his  construction  of  what  I  said.  I  did  not  personally  reflect 
on  the  members  of  our  state  judiciary ;  nor  did  I  impute 
the  impropriety  of  vesting  the  state  judiciaries  with  exclu- 
sive jurisdiction  over  the  laws  of  the  Union,  and  cases  arising 
under  the  Constitution,  to  any  want  of  probity  in  the  judges. 
But  *if  they  be  the  judges  of  the  local  or  state  laws,  and 
receive  emoluments  for  acting  in  that  capacity,  they  will  be 
improper  persons  to  judge  of  the  laws  of  the  Union.  A 
federal  judge  ought  to  be  solely  governed  by  the  laws  of  the 
United  States,  and  receive  his  salary  from  the  treasury  of 
the  United  States.     It  is  impossible  for  any  judges,  receiving 

Eay  from  a  single  state,  to  be  impartial  in  cases  where  the 
)cal  laws  or  interests  of  that  state  clash  with  the  laws  of  the 
Union,  or  the  general  interests  of  America.  We  have  in- 
stances  here  which  prove  this  partiality  in  such  cases.  It  is 
also  so  in  other  states.  The  gentleman  has  thrown  out 
something  very  uncommon.  He  likens  the  power  given  by 
this  Constitution  to  giving  the  late  army  the  purse  and  the 
sword.  I  am  much  astonished  that  such  an  idea  should  be 
thrown  out  by  that  gentleman,  because  his  respectability  is 
well  known.  If  he  considers  for  a  moment,  he  must  see  that 
his  observation  is  bad,  and  that  the  comparison  is  extremely 
absurd  and  improper.  The  purse  and  the  sword  must  be 
given  to  every  government.  The  sword  is  given  to  the  ex- 
ecutive magistrate  ;  but  the  purse  remains  by  this  Constitu- 
tion, in  the  representatives  of  the  people      We  know  ver\ 


^ell  that  they  cannot  raise  one  shilling  but  by  the  consent  ol' 
the  representatives  of  the  people.  Money  bills  do  not  even 
originate  in  the  Senate ;  they  originate  solely  in  the  other 
house.  Every  appropriation  must  be  by  law.  We  know, 
therefore,  that  no  executive  magistrate  or  officer  can  appro- 
priate a  shilling,  but  as  he  is  authorized  by  law.  With 
respect  to  paper  money,  the  gentleman  has  acted  and  spoken 
with  great  candor.  He  was  against  paper  money  from  the 
first  emission.  There  was  no  other  way  to  satisfy  the  late 
army  but  by  paper  money,  there  being  not  a  shilling  of  specie 
in  the  state.  There  were  other  modes  adopted  by  other 
states,  which  did  not  produce  such  inconveniences.  There 
was,  however,  a  considerable  majority  of  that  assembly  who 
adopted  the  idea,  that  not  one  shilling  more  paper  money 
should  be  made,  because  of  the  evil  consequences  that  must 
necessarily  follow.  The  experience  of  this  country,  for 
many  years,  has  proved  that  such  emissions  involve  us  in 
debts  and  distresses,  destroy  our  credit,  and  produce  no 
good  consequences;  and  yet,  contrary  to  all  good  policy, 
the  evil  was  repeated. 

With  respect  to  our  public   security  and  paper  money, 
the  apprehensions  of  gentlemen  are  groundless.     I  believe 
this  Constitution  cannot   aSect  them  at  all.     In  the  10th 
section  of  the  1st  article,  it  is  provided,  among  other  re- 
strictions, ^<  that  no  state  shall    emit  bills  of  credit,  make 
any  thing  but  gold  and  silver  coin  a  tender  in  payment  oi 
debts,  or  pass  any   law   impairing   the   obligation   of  con- 
tracts."    Now,  sir,  this  has  no  retrospective  view.     It  looks 
to  futurity.     It  is  conceived  by  many  people,  that  the  mo- 
ment  this  new  Constitution  is  adopted,  our  present  paper 
money  will  sink  to  nothing.     For  my  part,  I  believe  that, 
instead  of  sinking,  it  will  appreciate.     If  we  adopt,  it  will 
rise  in  value,  so  that  twenty  shillings  of  it  will  be  equal  to 
two  Spanish  milled  dollars  and  a  half.     Paper  money  is  as 
good  as  gold  and  silver  where  there  are    proper  funds  to 
redeem  it,  and  no  danger  of  its  being  increased.     Before 
the  late  war,  our  paper  money  fluctuated  in  value.     Thirty- 
six  years  ago,  when  I  came  into  this  country,  our  paper 
money  was  at  seven  shillings  to  the  dollar.     A  few  years 
before  the  late  war,    the    merchants  of   Great  Britain  re- 
monstrated to  the  ministry  of  that  country,  that  they  lost 
much  of  theu"  debts  by  paper  money  losing  its  value.     This 

174  DEBATES.  [Bass.- 

caused  an  order  to  be  made  through  all  the  states  not  to- 
pass  any  money  bills  whatever.  The  effect  of  this  was,  that, 
our  paper  money  appreciated.  At  the  commencement  of 
the  war,  our  paper  money  in  circulation  was  equal  to  gold, 
or  silver.  But  it  is  said  that,  on  adoption,  all  debts  con- 
tracted heretofore  must  then  be  paid  in  gold  or  silver  coin^ 
I  believe  that,  if  any  gentleman  will  attend  to  the  clauses 
above  recited,  he  will  find  that  it  has  no  retrospective,  but. 
a  prospective  view.  It  does  not  look  back,  but  forward.  Ir 
does  not  destroy  the  paper  money  which  is  now  actually 
made,  but  prevents  ns  from  making  any  more.  This  is 
much  in  our  favor,  because  we  may  pay  in  the  money  we 
contracted  for,  (or  such  as  is  equal  in  value  to  it;)  and  the 
very  restriction  against  an  increase  of  it  will  add  to  its 
value.  It  is  in  the  power  of  the  legislature  to  establish  a 
scale  of  depreciation,  to  fix  the  value  of  it.  There  is  nothing 
against  this  in  the  Constitution.  On  the  contrary,  it  favors 
it.  I  should  be  much  injured  if  it  was  really  to  be  the  case 
that  the  paper  money  should  sink.  After  the  Constitution 
was  adopted,  I  should  think  myself,  as  a  holder  of  our  paper 
money,  possessed  of  Continental  security.  I  am  convinced 
our  money  will  be  good  money ;  and  if  I  was  to  speculate 
in  any  thing,  I  would  in  paper  money,  though  I  never  did 
speculate.  I  should  be  satisfied  that  I  should  make  a  profit. 
Why  say  that  the  state  security  will  be  paid  in  gold  and 
silver  after  all  these  things  are  considered  ?  Every  real, 
actual  debt  of  the  state  ought  to  be  discharged  in  real,  and 
not  nominal  value,  at  any  rate. 

Mr.  Bass  took  a  general  view  of  the  original  and  appel- 
late jurisdiction  of  the  federal  court.  He  considered  the 
Constitution  neither  necessary  nor  proper.  He  declared 
that  the  last  part  of  the  1st  paragraph  of  the  2d  section 
appeared  to  him  totally  inexplicable.  He  feared  that  dread- 
ful oppression  would  be  committed  by  carrying  people  too 
great  a  distance  to  decide  trivial  causes.  He  observed  that 
gentlemen  of  the  law  and  men  of  learning  did  not  concur  in 
the  explanation  or  meaning  of  this  Constitution.  For  his 
part,  he  said,  he  could  not  understand  it.  alihouj^h  he  took 
great  pains  to  find  out  its  meaning,  and  although  he  flattered 
himself  with  the  possessioti  of  common  sense  and  reason 
He  always  thought  that  there  ought  to  be  a  compact  be 
tween  the   governors  and  governed.     Some   called    this  a 

Maclainb]  north   CAROLINA.  176 

compact ;  others  said  it  was  not.  From  the  contrariety  of 
opinions,  he  thought  the  thing  was  either  uncommonly  difii- 
cult,  or  absolutely  unintelligible.  He  wished  to  reflect  on 
no  gentleman,  and  apologized  for  his  ignorance,  by  ob- 
serving that  he  never  went  to  school,  and  had  been' born 
blind ;  but  he  wished  for  information,  and  supposed  that 
every  gentleman  would  consider  his  desire  as  laudable. 

Mr.  MACLAINE  first,  and  then  Mr.  IREDELL,  en- 
deavored to  satisfy  the  gentleman,  by  a  particular  explanation 
of  the  whole  paragraph.  It  was  observed  that,  if  there 
should  be  a  controversy  between  this  state  and  the  king  of 
France  or  Spain,  it  must  be  decided  in  the  federal  court. 
Or  if  there  should  arise  a  controversy  between  the  French 
king,  or  any  other  foreign  power,  or  one  of  their  subjects  or 
citizens,  and  one  of  our  citizens,  it  must  be  decided  there 
also.  The  distinction  betwt^en  the  words  citizen  and  subject 
was  explained  —  that  the  former  related  to  individuals  of 
popular  governments,  the  latter  to  those  of  monarchies ;  as, 
for  instance,  a  dispute  between  this  state,  or  a  citizen  of  it, 
and  a  person  in  Holland.  The  words  foreign  citizen  would 
properly  refer  to  such  jiersons.  If  the  dispute  was  between 
this  state  and  a  person  in  Franco  or  Spain,  the  words^e?t^n 
subject  would  apply  to  this ;  and  all  such  controversies  might 
be  decided  in  the  federal  court  —  that  the  words  citizens  or 
subjects^  in  that  part  of  the  clause,  could  only  apply  to 
foreign  citizens  or  foreign  subjects;  and  another  part  of  the 
constitution  made  this  plain,  by  confining  disputes,  in  gen- 
eral, between  citizens  of  the  same  state,  to  the  single  case 
of  their  claiming  lands  under  grants  of  different  states. 

The  last  clause  of  the  2d  section  under  consideration. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  an  objection  was 
made  yesterday  by  a  gentleman  against  this  clause,  because 
it  confined  the  trial  to  the  stale;  and  he  observed  that  a 
person  on  the  Mississippi  might  be  tried  in  Edenton. 

Gentlemen  ought  to  consider  that  it  was  im})ossible  for 
the  Convention,  when  devising  a  general  rule  for  all  the 
states,  to  descend  to  particular  districts.  The  trial  by  Jury 
is  secured  generally,  by  providing  that  the  trial  shall  be  in 
the  state  where  the  crime  was  committed.  It  is  left  to 
Congress  to  make  such  regulations,  by  law,  as  will  suit  the 
circumstances  of  each  state.  It  would  have  been  impolitic 
to  fix  the  mode  of  proceeding,  because  it  would  alter  the 

176  DEBATES.  [Iredeu. 

present  mode  of  proceeding,  in  such  cases,  in  this  state,  or 
in  several  others;  for  there  is  such  a  dissimilarity  in  the  pro- 
ceedings of  different  states,  that  it  would  be  impossible  to 
make  a  general  law  which  would  be  satisfactory  to  the 
whole.  But  as  the  trial  is  to  be  in  the  state,  there  is  no 
doubt  but  it  will  be  the  usual  and  common  mode  practised 
in  the  state. 

3d  section  read  without  any  observation. 

Article  4th.  The  Isi  section,  and  two  first  clauses  of  the 
2d  section,  read  without  observation. 

The;  last  clause  read. 

Mr.  IREDELL  begged  leave  to  explain  the  reason  of 
this  clause.  In  some  of  the  Northern  States  they  have 
emancipated  all  their  slaves.  If  any  of  our  slaves,  siiid  he, 
go  there,  and  remain  there  a  certain  time,  they  would,  by 
the  present  laws,  be  entided  to  their  freedom,  so  that  their 
masters  could  not  get  them  again.  This  would  be  extremely 
prejudicial  to  the  inhabitants  of  the  Southern  States;  and 
to  prevent  it,  this  clause  is  inserted  in  the  Constitution. 
Though  the  word  slave  is  not  mentioned,  this  is  the  meaning 
of  it.  The  northern  delegates,  owing  to  their  particular 
scruples  on  the  subject  of  slavery,  did  not  choose  the  word 
slave  to  be  mentioned. 

The  rest  of  the  4th  article  read  without  any  observation. 

Article  5th. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  this  is  a  very  important 
clause.  In  every  other  constitution  of  government  that  1 
have  ever  heard  or  read  of,  no  provision  is  made  for  neces- 
sarv  amendments.  The  misfortune  attending  most  constitu* 
tions  which  have  been  deliberately  formed,  has  been,  that 
those  who  formed  them  thought  their  wisdom  equal  to  all 
possible  contingencies,  and  that  there  could  be  no  error  in 
what  they  did.  The  gentlemen  who  framed  this  Constitu- 
tion thought  with  much  more  diffidence  of  their  capacities ; 
and,  undoubtedly,  without  a  provision  for  amendment  it  would 
have  been  more  justly  liable  to  objection,  and  the  characters 
of  its  framers  would  have  appeared  much  less  meritorious. 
This,  indeed,  is  one  of  the  greatest  beauties  of  the  system, 
and  should  strongly  recommend  it  to  every  candid  mind. 
The  Constitution  of  any  government  which  cannot  be  regu- 
larly amended  when  its  defects  are  experienced,  reduces  the 
peoole   to  this   dilemma — they  must  either   submit  to  its 

UiDKish.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  177 

oppressions,  or  bring  about  amendments,  more  or  less,  by  a 
civil  war.     Happy  this,  the  country  we  live  in !     The  Con- 
stitution before  us,  if  it  be  adopted,  can  be  altered  with  as 
much  regularity,  and  as  little  confusion,  as  any  act  of  As- 
seuibly;  not,  indeed,  quite   so  easily,  which  would  be  ex- 
tremely impolitic  ;  but  it  is  a  most  happy  circumstance,  that 
there  is  a  remedy  in  the  system  itself  for  its  own  fallibility, 
so  that  alterations  can  without  difficulty  be  made,  agreeable 
to   the  general  sense  of  the  people.     Let  us  attend  to  the 
manner  in  which  amendments  may  be  made.     The  propo- 
sition for  amendments  may  arise  from  Congress  itself,  when 
two  thirds  of  both  houses  shall  deem  it  necessary.     If  they 
should  not,  and  yet  amendments  be  generally  wished  for  by 
the    people,  two  thirds  of  the  legislatures  of  the  different 
states  may  require  a  general  convention  for  the  purjwse,  in 
^vhich  case  Congress  are  under  the  necessity  of  convening 
C3ne.     Any  amendments  which  either  Congress  shall  propose, 
which  shall  be  proposed  by  such  general  convention,  are 
fterwards  to  be  submitted  to  the  legislatures  of  the  different 
s^tates,  or  conventions  called  for  that  purpose,  as  Congress 
^hall  think  proper,  and,  upon  the  ratification  of  three  fourths 
^Df  the  states,  will  become  a  part  of  the  Constitution.     By 
referring  this  business  to  the  legislatures,  expense  would  be 
saved ;   and  in  general,  it  may  be   presumed,   they  would 
speak  the  genuine  sense  of  the  people.     It  may,  however, 
^n  some  occasions,  be  better  to  consult  an  immediate  dele- 
gation for  that  special  purpose.     This  is  therefore  left  dis- 
cretionary.    It  is  highly  probable  that  amendments  agreed 
to  in  either  of  these  methods  would  be  conducive  to  the 
public  welfare,  when  so  large  a  majority  of  the  states  con- 
sented  to  them.     And  in  one  of  these  modes,  amendments 
that  are  now  wished  for  may,  in  a  short  time,  be  made  to 
this  Constitution  by  the  states  adopting  it. 

It  is,  however,  to  be  observed,  that  the  1st  and  4th  clauses 
m  the  9ih  section  of  the  1st  article  are  protected  from  any 
alteration  till  the  year  1808 ;  and  in  order  that  no  consolida- 
tion should  take  place,  it  is  provided  that  no  state  shall,  by 
any  amendment  or  alteration,  be  ever  deprived  of  an  equal 
suffrage  in  the  Senate  without  its  own  consent.  The  first 
two  prohibitions  are  with  respect  to  the  census,  (according  to 
which  direct  taxes  are  impsed,)  and  with  respect  to  the  in>- 
portation  of  slaves.  As  to  the  first,  it  must  be  obsi»rved,  tlvaf 
VOL.  IV.  23 

1 78  DEBATES.  [Ijibdclu 

tlicre  is  a  material  difference  between  the  Northern  and 
Southern  States.  The  Northern  States  have  been  much 
longer  settled,  and  are  much  fuller  of  people,  than  the 
Southern,  but  have  not  land  in  equal  proportion,  nor  scarcely 
<uiy  slaves.  The  subject  of  this  article  was  regulated  with 
great  difficulty,  and  by  a  spirit  of  concession  which  it  would 
not  l)e  prudent  to  disturb  for  a  good  many  years.  In  twenty 
years,  there  will  probably  be  a  great  alteration,  and  then  the 
subject  may  be  reconsidered  with  less  difficulty  and  greater 
coolness.  In  the  mean  time,  the  compromise  was  upon  the 
l>est  footing  that  could  be  obtained.  A  compromise  like- 
wise took  place  in  regard  to  the  importation  of  slaves.  It  is 
probable  that  all  the  members  reprobated  this  inhuman 
traffic ;  but  those  of  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  would  not 
consent  to  an  immediate  prohibition  of  it  —  one  reason  of 
which  was,  that,  during  the  last  war,  they  lost  a  vast  num- 
ber of  negroes,  which  loss  they  wish  to  supply.  In  the 
mean  time,  it  is  left  to  the  states  to  admit  or  prohibit  the 
importation,  and  Congress  may  impose  a  limited  duty 
upon  it. 

Mr.  BASS  observed,  that  it  was  plain  that  the  introduction 
of  amendments  depended  altogether  on  Congress. 

Mr.  IREDELL  replied,  that  it  was  very  evident  that  it 
did  not  depend  on  the  will  of  Congress  ;  for  that  the  legisla- 
tures of  two  thirds  of  the  states  were  authorized  to  make 
application  for  calling  a  convention  to  propose  amendments, 
and,  on  such  application,  it  is  provided  that  Congress  shali 
call  such  convention,  so  that  they  will  have  no  option. 

Article  6th.     1st  clause  read  without  any  observation. 

2d  clause  read. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  This  clause  is  supposed  to  give  too 
much  power,  when,  in  fact,  it  only  provides  for  the  execu- 
tion of  those  powers  which  are  already  given  in  the  forego- 
ing articles.  What  does  it  say?  That  "this  Constitution, 
and  the  laws  of  the  United  States  which  shall  be  made  in 
pursuance  thereof,  and  all  treaties  made,  or  which  shall  be 
made,  under  the  authority  of  the  United  States,  shall  l)e  the 
supreme  law  of  the  land  ;  and  the  judges  in  every  state  shall 
be  bound  thereby,  any  thing  in  the  constitution  or  laws  of 
any  state  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding."  What  is  the 
meaning  of  this,  but  that,  as  we  have  given  power,  we  will 
support  the  execution  of  it  ?     We  should  act  like  children,  re 


give  power  and  deny  the  legality  of  executing  it.  It  is  say-* 
•Jig  no  more  than  that,  when  we  adopt  the  government,  we 
will  maintain  and  obey  it ;  in  the  skme  manner  as  if  the 
Constitution  of  this  state  had  said  that,  when  a  law  is  passed* 
in  conformity  to  it,  we  must  obey  that  law.  Would  this  be 
objected  to?  Then,  when  the  Congress  passes  a  law  con 
sistent  with  the  Constitution,  it  is  to  be  binding  on  the 
people.  If  Congress,  under  pretence  of  executing  one 
power,  should,  in  fact,  usurp  another,  they  will  violate  the 
Constitution.  I  presume,  therefore,  that  this  explanation, 
which  appears  to  me  the  plainest  in  the  world,  will  be  eu- 
lirely  satisfactory  to  the  committee. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  confess  hw 
explanation  is  not  satisfactory  to  me.  I  wish  the  gentleman 
had  gone  fartheir.  I  readily  agree  that  it  is  giving  them  no 
more  power  than  to  execute  their  laws.  But  how  far  does 
this  go?  It  appears  to  me  to  sweep  off  all  the  constitutions 
of  the  states.  It  is  a  total  repeal  of  every  act  and  constitu- 
tion of  the  states.  The  judges  are  sworn  to  uphold  it.  If 
will  produce  an  abolition  of  the  state  governments.  Its 
sovereignty  absolutely  annihilates  them. 

Mr.  Iredell.     Mr.  chairman,  every  power  delegated 
to  Congress  is  to  be  executed  by  hivvs  made  for  that  purpose. 
It  is  necessary  to  particularize  the  powers  intended  to  be 
given,  in  the  Constitution,  as  having  no  existence  before ; 
but,  after  having  enumerated  what  we  give  up,  it  follows,  of 
course,  that  whatever  is  done,  by  virtue  of  that  authority,  is 
legiil  without  any  new  authority  or  power.     The  question, 
then,  under  this  clause,  will  always  be,  whether  Congress 
has  exceeded  its  authority.     If  it  has  not  exceeded  it,  we 
must  oliey,  otherwise  not.    This  Constitution,  when  adopted, 
will  become  a  part  of  our  state  Constitution;  and  the  latter 
must  yield  to  the  former  only  in  those  cases  where  power  is 
given  by  it.     It  is  not  to  yield  to  it  in  any  other  case  what- 
ever.    For  instance,  there  is  nothing  in  the  Constitution  of 
this  state  establishing  the  authority  of  a  federal  court.     Yet 
the  federal  court,  when  established,  will  be  as  constitutional 
as  the  superior  court  is  now  under  our  Constitution.     It  ap- 
pears to  me  merely  a  general  clause,  the  amount  of  which  is 
that,  when  they  pass  an  act,  if  it  be  in  the  execution  of  ar 
power  given  by  the  Constitution,  it  shall  be  binding  on  th^ 
people,  otherwise  not.     As  td  the  sufficiency  or  extent  o^  thi* 

l8C  DEBATES.  [Maclaink 

power,  tha":  is  another  consideration,  and  has  been  discussed 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  This  clause  will  be  the  destruc- 
tion of  every  law  which  will  come  in  competition  with  the 
laws  of  the  United  States.  Those  laws  and  regulations 
which  have  been,  or  shall  be,  made  in  this  state,  must  be 
destroyed  by  it,  if  they  come  in  competition  with  the  powers 
of  Congress.  Is  it  not  necessary  to  define  the  extent  of  its 
operation  ?  Is  not  the  force  of  our  tender-laws  destroyed  by 
it  ?  The  worthy  gentleman  from  Wilmington  has  endeavored 
to  obviate  the  objection  as  to  the  Constitution's  destroying 
the  credit  of  our  paper  money,  and  paying  debts  in  coin,  but 
unsatisfactorily  to  me.  A  man  assigns,  by  legal  action,  a 
bond  to  a  man  in  another  state  ;  could  that  bond  be  paid  by 
money  ?  I  know  it  is  very  easy  to  be  wrong.  I  am  con- 
scious of  being  frequently  so.  I  endeavor  to  be  open  to  con- 
nction.  This  clause  seems  to  me  too  general,  and  I  think 
its  extent  ought  to  be  limited  and  defined.  I  should  suppose 
every  reasonable  man  would  think  some  amendments  to  it 
were  necessary. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  that  it  will  destroy 
the  state  sovereignty  is  a  very  j)opular  argument.  I  beg 
leave  to  have  the  attention  of  the  committee.  Government 
is  formed  for  the  happiness  and  prosperity  of  the  people  at 
large.  The  powers  given  it  are  for  their  own  good.  We 
have  found,  by  several  years'  experience,  that  government, 
taken  by  itself  nominally,  without  adequate  power,  is  not 
sufficient  to  promote  their  prosperity.  Sufficient  powers 
must  be  given  to  it.  The  powers  to  be  given  the  general 
government  are  proposed  to  be  withdrawn  from  the  authority 
of  the  state  governments,  in  order  to  protect  and  secure  the 
Union  at  large.  This  proposal  is  made  to  the  people.  No 
man  will  deny  their  authority  to  delegate  powers  and  recall 
them,  in  all  free  countries.  But,  says  the  gentleman  last  up, 
the  construction  of  the  Constitution  is  in  the  power  of  Con- 
gress, and  it  will  destroy  the  sovereignty  of  the  state  govern- 
ments. It  may  be  justly  said  that  rt  diminishes  the  power 
of  the  state  legislatures,  and  the  diminution  is  necessary  to 
the  safety  and  prosperity  of  the  people ;  but  it  may  be  fairly 
said  that  the  members  of  the  general  government, — the  Presi- 
dent, senators,  and  representatives, — :  whom  we  send  thither, 
by  our  free  suffi'ages,  to  consult  our  common  interest,  will 

Maclainx.]  north  CAROLINA.  181 

not  wish  to  destroy  the  state  governments,  because  the^ex- 
istence  of  the  general  government  will  depend  on  that  of  the 
state  governments. 

But  what  is  the  sovereignty,  and  who  is  Congress  ?     One 
branch,  the  people  at  large  ;  and  the  other  branch,  the  states 
by  their  representatives.     Do  people  fear  the  delegation  of 
power  to  themselves  —  to  their  own  representatives?     But 
be  objects  that  the  laws  of  the  Union  are  to  be  the  supreme 
laws  of  the  land.     Is  it  not  proper  that  their  laws  should  t)e 
the  laws  of  the  land,  and  paramount  to  those  of  any  particu- 
lar state? — or  is  it  proper  that  the  laws  of  any  particular 
state  should  control  the  laws  of  the  United  States  ?     Shall  a 
part  control  the  whole  ?     To  permit  the  local  laws  of  any 
state  to  control  the  laws  of  the  Union,  would  be  to  give  the 
general  government  no  powers  at  all.     If  the  Judges  are  not 
to  be  bound  by  it,  the  powers  of  Congress  will  be  nugatory. 
This  is  self-evident  and  plain.     Bring  it  home  to  every  un- 
derstanding ;  it  is  so  clear  it  will  force  itself  upon  it.     The 
"^vorthy  gentleman   says,  in  contradiction  to  what   1    have 
observed,  that  the  clause  which  restrains  the  states  from  emit- 
ting paper  money,  &c.,  will  operate  upon  the  present  cir- 
culating paper  money,  and  that  gold  and  silver  must  pay 
paper  contracts.     The  clause  cannot  possibly  have  a  retro- 
spective view.     It» cannot  affect  the  existing  currency  in  any 
manner,  except  to  enhance  its  value  by  the  prohibition  of 
future  emissions.     It  is  contrary  to  the  universal  principles 
of  jurisprudence,  that  a  law  or  constitution  should  have  a  ret- 
rospective operation,  unless  it  be  expressly  provided  that  it 
shall.     Does  he  deny  the  power  of  the  legislature  to  fix  a 
scale  of  depreciation  as  a  criterion  to  regulate  contracts  made 
for  depreciated  money  ?     As  to  the  question  he  has  put,  of  an 
assigned  bond,  I  answer  that  it  can   be  paid  with  paper 
money.     For  this  reason,  the  assignee  can  be  in  no  better 
situation  than  the  assignor.     If  it  be  regularly  transferred,  it 
will  appear  what  person  had  the  bond  originally,  and   the 
present  possessor  can  recover  nothing  but  what  the  original 
holder  of  it  could.     Another  reason  which  may  be  urged  is, 
that  the  federal  courts  could  have  no  cognizance  of  such  a 
suit.     Those  courts  have  no  jurisdiction  in  cases  of  debt  be- 
tween the  citizens  of  the  same  state.     The  assignor  being  a 
citizen  of  the  same  state  with  the  debtor,  and  assigning  it  to 

a  citizen  of  another  state,  to  avoid  the  intent  of  the  Constitu- 


!82  DEBATES.  [J>A¥ii( 

iioir,  the  assignee  can  derive  no  advantage  from  the  assign*  - 
ment,  except  what  the  assignor  had  a  right  to ;  and  conse*  - 
quenlly  the  gentleman's  objection  falls  to  the  ground. 

Every  gentleman  must  see  the  necessity  for  the  laws  of 
the  Union  to  be  paramount  to  those  of  the  separate  states, 
and  that  the  powers  given  by  this  Constitution  must  be  ex- 
ecuted. What,  shall  we  ratify  a  government  and  then  say  it- 
shall  not  operate  ?  This  would  be  the  same  as  not  to  ratify. 
As  to  the  amendments,  the  best  characters  in  the  country^ 
and  those  whom  I  most  highly  esteem,  wish  for  amendments. 
Some  parts  of  it  arc  not  organized  to  my  wish.  But  I  ap- 
prehend no  danger  from  the  structure  of  the  government 
One  gentleman  (Mr.  Bass)  said  he  thought  it  neither  neces- 
sary nor  proper.  For  my  part,  I  think  it  essential  to  our 
very  existence  as  a  nation,  and  our  happiness  and  prosperity 
as  a  free  people.  The  men  who  composed  it  were  men  of 
great  abilities  and  various  minds.  They  carried  their  knowl- 
edge with  them.  It  is  the  result,  not  only  of  great  wisdom 
and  mutual  reflection,  but  of  ^'  mutual  deference  and  con- 
cession." It  has  trifling  faults,  but  they  are  not  dangerous. 
Yet  at  the  same  time  I  declare  that,  if  gentlemen  pro|)ose 
amendments,  if  they  be  not  such  as  would  destroy  the  gov- 
ernment entirely,  there  is  not  a  single  member  here  more 
willing  to  agree  to  them  than  myself. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman:  permit  me,  sir,  to  make  a 
few  observations  on  the  operation  of  the  clause  so  often 
mentioned.  This  Constitution,  as  to  the  powers  therein 
[ranted,  is  constantly  to  be  the  supreme  law  of  the  land 
.very  power  ceded  by  it  must  be  executed,  without  being 
counteracted  by  the  laws  or  constitutions  of  the  individual 
states.  Gentlemen  should  distinguish  that  it  is  not  the  su- 
preme law  in  the  exercise  of  a  power  not  granted.  It  can 
be  supreme  only  in  cases  consistent  with  the  powers  specially 
granted,  and  not  in  usurpations.  If  you  grant  any  power  to 
the  federal  government,  the  laws  made  in  pursuance  of  that 
power  must  be  supreme,  and  uncontrolled  in  their  operation. 
This  consequence  is  involved  in  the  very  nature  and  necessity 
of  the  thing.  The  only  rational  inquiry  is,  whether  those 
powers  are  necessary,  and  whether  they  are  properly  granted. 
To  say  that  you  have  vested  the  federal  government  with 
power  to  legislate  for  the  Union,  and  then  deny  the  supreme 
acy  of  the  laws,  is  a  solecism  in  terms.     With  respect  to  iu 

Oatix.]  north  CAROLINA.  133 

operation  on  our  own  paper  money,  I  believe  tnat  a  little 
consideration  will  satisfy  everj  man:  that  it  cannot  have  the 
effect  asserted  by  the  gentleman  from  New  Hanovei.     The 
Federal  Convention  knew  that  several  states  had  large  sums 
of   paper  money  in  circulation,  and  that  it  was  an  interesting 
property,  and  they  were    sensible  that  those  stares  would 
never  consent  to  its   immediate   destruction,  or  ratify  any 
system    that  would   have    that    operation.     The    mischief 
already  done  could  not  be  repaired :  all  that  could  be  done 
was,  to  form  some  limitation  to  this  great  political  evil.     As 
the    paper   money   had   become   private    property,  and   the 
object  of  numberless  contracts,  it  could  not  be  destroyed  or 
intermeddled  with  in  that  situation,  although  its  baneful  tend- 
ency was  obvious  and  undeniable.     It  was,  however,  effect- 
ing an  important  object  to  put  bounds  to  this  growing  mis- 
chief,    if  the  states  had  been  compelled  to  sink  the  paper 
money  instantly,  the  remedy  might  be  worse  than  the  disease. 
-As  we  could  not  put  an  immediate  end  to  it,  we  were  con- 
sent with  prohibiting  its  future  increase,  looking  forward  to 
its  entire  extinguishment  when  the  states  that  had  an  emis- 
s^ion    circulating  should  be  able  to  call  it  hi  by  a  gradual 

In  Pennsylvania,  their  paper  money  was  not  a  tender  in 
discharge  of  private  contracts.  In  South  Carolina,  their 
bills  became  eventually  a  tender ;  and  in  Rhode  Island, 
New  York,  New  Jersey,  and  North  Carolina,  the  paper 
money  was. made  a  legal  tender  in  all  cases  whatsoever. 
The  other  states  were  sensible  that  the  destruction  of  the 
circulating  paper  would  be  a  violation  of  the  rights  of  private 
property,  and  that  such  a  measure  would  render  the  acces- 
sion of  those  states  to  the  system  absolutely  impracticable. 
The  injustice  and  pernicious  tendency  of  this  disgraceful 
policy  were  viewed  with  great  indignation  by  the  states  which 
adhered  to  the  principles  of  justice.  In  Rhode  Island,  the 
paper  money  had  depreciated  to  eight  for  one,  and  a  hundred 
per  cent,  with  us.  The  people  of  Massachusetts  and  Con- 
necticut had  been  great  sufferers  by  the  dishonesty  of  Rhode 
Island,  and  similar  complaints  existed  against  this  state. 
This  clause  became  in  some  measure  a  preliminary  with  the 
gentlemen  who  represented  the  other  states.  "  You  have,*' 
said  they,  ^^  by  your  iniquitous  laws  and  paper  emissions 
shamefuify  defrauded  our  citizens.     The  Confederation  pre- 

1B4  DEBATES.  [Bloodworth 

vented  our  compelling  you  to  do  them  justice ;  but  before 
we  confederate  with  you  again,  you  must  not  only  agree  to 
be  honest,  but  put  it  out  of  your  power  to  be  otherwise. '' 
Sir,  a  member  from  Rhode  Island  itself  could  not  have  set 
his  face  against  such  language.  The  clause  was,  I  believe, 
unanimously  assented  to :  it  has  only  a  future  aspect,  and 
can  by  no  means  have  a  retrospective  operation  ;  and  I 
trust  the  principles  upon  which  the  Convention  proceeded 
will  meet  the  approbation  of  every  honest  man. 

Mr.  Cx\BARRUS.  Mr.  Chairman,  1  contend  that  the 
clause  which  prohibits  the  states  from  emitting  bills  of  credit 
will  not  affect  our  present  paper  money.  The  clause  has  no 
retrospective  view.  This  Constitution  declares,  in  the  most 
positive  terms,  that  no  ex  post  facto  law  shall  he  passed  by 
the  general  government.  Were  this  clause  to  operate  ret- 
rospectively, it  would  clearly  be  ex  post  facto,  and  repugnant 
to  the  express  provision  of  the  Constitution.  How,  then, 
in  the  name  of  God,  can  the  Constitution  take  our  paper 
money  away  ?  If  we  have  contracted  for  a  sum  of  money, 
we  ought  to  pay  according  to  the  nature  of  our  contract. 
Every  honest  man  will  pay  in  specie  who  engaged  to  pay  it. 
But  if  we  have  contracted  for  a  sum  of  paper  money, 
it  must  be  clear  to  every  man  in  this  committee,  that  we 
shall  pay  in  paper  money.  This  is  a  Constitution  for  the 
future  government  of  the  United  States.  It  does  not  look 
back.  Every  gentleman  must  be  satisfied,  on  the  least 
reflection,  that  our  paper  money  will  not  be  destroyed.  To 
^ay  that  it  will  be  destroyed,  is  a  popular  argument,  but  not 
founded  in  fact,  in  my  opinion.  I  had  my  doubts,  but  on 
consideration,  I  am  satisfied. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  beg  leave  to 
ask  if  the  payment  of  sums  now  due  be  ex  post  facto.  Will 
it  be  an  ex  post  facto  law  to  compel  the  payment  of  money 
now  due  in  silver  coin  ?  If  suit  be  bruught  in  the  federal 
court  against  one  of  our  citizens,  for  a  sum  of  money,  will 
paper  money  be  received  to  satisfy  the  judgment  ?  I  inquire 
for  information ;  my  mind  is  not  yet  satisfied.  It  has  been 
said  that  we  are  to  send  our  own  gentlemen  to  represent  us, 
and  that  there  is  not  the  least  doubt  they  will  put  that  con- 
struction on  it  which  will  be  most  agreeable  to  the  people 
they  represent.  But  it  behoves  us  to  consider  whether  they 
can  do  so  if  they  would,  when  they  mix  with  the  body  of 

Ukdell.]  north  CAROUNA.  1 86 

Congress.  The  Northern  States  are  much  more  populous 
than  the  Southern  ones.  To  the  north  of  the  Susquehannah 
there  are  thirty-six  representatives,  and  to  the  south  of  it 
only  twenty-nine.  They  will  always  outvote  us.  Sir,  we 
ought  to  be  particular  in  adopting  a  Constitution  which  may 
destroy  our  currency,  when  it  is  to  be  the  supreme  law  of 
the  land,  and  prohibits  the  emission  of  paper  money.  I  am 
not,  for  my  own  part,  for  giving  an  indefinite  power.  Gen- 
tlemen of  the  best  abilities  differ  in  the  construction  of  the 
Constitution.  The  members  of  Congress  will  differ  too. 
Human  nature  is  fallible.  I  am  not  for  throwing  ourselves 
out  of  the  Union ;  but  we  ought  to  be  cautious  by  proposing 
amendments.  The  majority  in  several  great  adopting  states 
was  very  trifling.  Several  of  them  have  proposed  amend- 
ments, but  not  in  the  mode  most  satisfactory  to  my  mind. 
1  hope  this  Convention  never  will  adopt  it  till  the  amend- 
ments are  actually  obtained. 

Mr.  IREDELL.      Mr.  Chairman,  with  respect  to  this 
clause,  it  cannot  have  the  operation  contended  for.     There 
is  nothing  in  the  Constitution  which  affects  our  present  paper 
money.     It  prohibits,  for  the  future,  the  emitting  of  any, 
Init  it  does  not  interfere  with  the  paper  money  now  actually 
in  circulation  in  several  states.     There  is  an  express  clause 
which  protects  it.     It  provides  that  there  shall  be  no  ex  post 
facto  law.     This  would  be  ex  post  facto^  if  the  construction 
contended  for  were  right,  as  has  been  observed  by  another 
gentleman.     If  a  suit  were  brought  against  a  man  in  the 
Inderal  court,  and  execution  should  go  against  his  property, 
I  apprehend  he  would,  under  this  Constitution,  have  a  right 
10  pay  our  paper  money,  there  being  nothing  in  the  Consti- 
tution taking  away  the  validity  of  it.     Every  individual  in 
the  United  otates  will  keep  his  eye  watchfully  over  those 
who  administer  the  general  government,  and  no  usurpation 
of  power  will  be  acquiesced  in.     The  possibility  of  usurping 
powers  ought  not  to  be  objected  against  it.     Abuse  may 
happen   in    any  government.     The   only  resource   against 
usurpation  is  the  inherent  right  of  the  people  to  prevent  its 
exercise.     This  is  the  case  in  all  free  governments  in  the 
world.     The   people   will   resist   if  the    government  usurp 
powers  not  delegated  to  it.     We  must  run  the  risk  of  abuse 
\Vf  must  take  care  to  give  no  more  power  than  is  necessary 
VOL.  IV.  24 

186  DEBATES.  [Blood  wcnm 

but,  having  given  that,  we  must  submit  to  the  possible  dan- 
gers arising  from  it. 

With  respect  to  the  great  weight  of  the  Northern  States, 
it  will  not,  on  a  candid  examination,  appear  so  great  as  the 
gentlenian  supposes.  At  present,  the  regulation  of  our  rep- 
resentation is  merely  temporary.  Whether  greater  or  less, 
it  will  hereafter  depend  on  actual  population.  The  extent 
of  this  state  is  very  great,  almost  equal  to  that  of  any  state 
in  the  Union ;  and  our  population  will  probably  be  in  pro- 
portion. To  the  north  of  Pennsylvania,  there  are  twenty- 
seven  votes.  To  the  south  of  Pennsylvania,  there  are  thirty 
votes,  leaving  Pennsylvania  out.  Pennsylvania  has  eight 
votes.  In  the  division  of  what  is  called  the  northern  and 
southern  interests,  Pennsylvania  does  not  appear  to  be  de- 
cidedly in  either  scale.  Though  there  may  be  a  combination 
of  the  Northern  States,  it  is  not  certain  that  the  interests  of 
Pennsylvania  will  coincide  with  theirs.  If,  at  any  time,  she 
join  us,  we  shall  have  thirty-eight  against  twenty-seven. 
Should  she  be  against  us,  they  will  have  only  thirty-five  to 
thirty.  There  are  two  states  to  the  northward,  who  have, 
in  some  respect,  a  similarity  of  interests  with  ourselves. 
What  is  the  situation  of  New  Jersey  ?  It  is,  in  one  respect, 
similar  to  ours.  Most  of  the  goods  they  use  come  through 
New  York,  and  they  pay  for  the  benefit  of  New  York,  as  we 
pay  for  that  of  Virginia.  It  is  so  with  Connecticut ;  so  that, 
in  every  question  between  importing  and  non-importing 
states,  we  may  expect  that  two  of  the  Northern  States 
would  probably  join  with  Norjth  Carolina.  It  is  impossible 
to  destroy  altogether  this  idea  of  separate  interests.  But 
the  difference  between  the  states  does  not  appear  to  me  so 
great  as  the  gentleman  imagines ;  and  I  beg  leave  to  say, 
that,  in  proportion  to  the  increase  of  population,  the  South- 
ern States  will  have  greater  weight  than  the  Northern,  as 
they  have  such  large  quantities  of  land  still  uncultivated, 
which  is  not  so  much  the  case  to  the  north.  If  we  should 
suffer  a  small  temporary  inconvenience,  we  shall  be  com- 
pensated for  it  by  having  the  weight  of  population  in  our 
favor  in  future. 

Mr.  BLOODWORTH.  Mr.  Chairman,  when  I  was  in 
Congress,  the  southern  and  northern  interests  divided  at 
Susquehannah.  I  believe  it  is  so  now.  The  advantage  tc 
be  gained  by  future  population  is  no  argument  at  all.     Do 


we  gain  any  thing  when  the  other  states  havs  an  equauty  of 
members  in  the  Senate,  notwithstanding  the  increase  of 
members  in  the  House  of  Representatives  '^  This  is  no  con- 
sequence at  all.  '  I  am  sorry  to  mention  it,  but  I  can  produce 
an  instance  which  will  prove  the  facility  of  misconstruction. 
[Ilere  Mr.  Bloodworth  cited  an  instance  which  took  place  in 
Congress  with  respect  to  the  Indian  trade,  which,  not  having 
been  distinctly  heard,  is  omitted.] 

They  may  trample  on  the  rights  of  the  people  of  North 
Carolina  if  there  be  not  sufficient  guards  and  checks.  I  only 
mentioned  this  to  show  that  there  may  be  misconstructions, 
and  that,  in  so  important  a  case  as  a  constitution,  every  thing 
ought  to  be  clear  and  intelligible,  and  no  ground  left  for  dis- 

Mr.  CALDWELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  is  very  evident 
that  there  is  a  great  necessity  for  perspicuity.  In  the  sweep- 
ing clause,  there  are  words  which  are  not  plain  and  evident. 
It  says  that  **  this  Constitution,  and  the  laws  of  the  United 
States  which  shall  be  made  in  pursuance  thereof,  &c.,  shall 
be  the  supreme  law  of  the  land."  The  word  pursiuince  is 
equivocal  and  ambiguous ;  a  plainer  word  would  be  better. 
They  may  pursue  bad  as  well  as  good  measures,  and  there- 
fore the  word  is  improper ;  it  authorizes  bad  measures.  An- 
other thing  is  remarkable,  —  that  gentlemen,  as  an  answer 
to  every  improper  part  of  it,  tell  us  that  every  thing  is  to  be 
done  by  our  own  representatives,  who  are  to  be  good  men. 
There  is  no  security  that  they  will  be  so,  or  continue  to  be 
so.  Should  they  be  virtuous  when  elected,  the  laws  of  Con- 
gress will  be  unalterable.  These  laws  must  be  annihilated 
by  the  same  body  which  made  them.  It  appears  to  me  that 
the  laws  which  they  make  cannot  be  altered  without  calling 
a  convention.  [Mr.  Caldwell  added  some  reasons  for  this 
opinion,  but  spoke  too  low  to  be  heard.] 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  knew  that  many 
gentlemen  in  this  Convention  were  not  perfectly  satisfied 
with  every  article  of  this  Constitution ;  but  I  did  not  expect 
that  so  many  would  object  to  this  clause.  The  Constitution 
must  be  the  supreme  law  of  the  land;  otherwise,  it  would  be 
Mi  the  power  of  any  one  state  to  counteract  the  other  states, 
and  withdraw  itself  from  the  Union.  The  laws  made  in 
pursuance  thereof  by  Congress  ought  to  be  the  supreme  law 
of  the  land ;  otherwise,  any  one  state  might  repeal  the  law9. 

188  DEBATES.  [ILkCLAiiOk 

of  the  Union  at  large.  Without  this  clause,  the  whole  Con- 
stitution would  be  a  piece  of  blank  paper.  Every  treaty 
should  be  the  supreme  law  of  the  land ;  without  this,  any 
one  state  might  involve  the  whole  Union  in  war.  The 
worthy  member  who  was  last  up  has  started  an  objection 
which  I  cannot  answer.  I  do  not  know  a  word  in  the  Eng- 
lish language  so  good  as  the  word  pursuance,  to  express  the 
idea  meant  and  intended  by  the  Constitution.  Can  any  one 
understand  the  sentence  any  other  way  than  this?  When 
Congress  makes  a  law  in  virtue  of  their  constitutional 
authority,  it  will  be  an  actual  law.  I  do  not  know  a  more 
expressive  or  a  belter  way  of  representing  the  idea  by  words. 
Every  law  consistent  with  the  Constitution  will  have  been 
made  in  pursuance  of  the  powers  granted  by  it.  Every 
usurpation  or  law  repugnant  to  it  cannot  have  been  made  in 
pursuance  of  its  powers.  The  latter  will  be  nugatory  and 
void.  I  am  at  a  loss  to  know  what  he  means  by  saying  the 
laws  of  the  Union  will  be  unalterable.  Are  laws  as  immuta- 
ble as  constitutions?  Can  any  thing  be  more  absurd  than 
assimilating  the  one  to  the  other?  The  idea  is  not  war 
ranted  by  the  Constitution,  nor  consistent  with  reason. 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL  wished  to  know  how  the  taxes  are 
to  be  paid  which  Congress  were  to  lay  in  this  state.  He 
asked  if  paper  money  would  discharge  them.  He  calciilated 
that  the  taxes  would  be  higher,  and  did  not  know  how  they 
could  be  discharged  ;  for,  says  he,  every  man  is  to  pay  so 
much  more,  and  the  poor  man  has  not  the  money  locked  up 
in  his  chest.  He  was  of  opinion  that  our  laws  could  be  re- 
pealed entirely  by  those  of  Congress. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  taxes  must  be  paid  in 
gold  or  silver  coin,  and  not  in  imaginary  money.  As  to  the 
subject  of  taxation,  it  has  been  the  opinion  of  many  intelli- 
gent men  that  there  will  be  no  taxes  laid  immediately,  or,  if 
any,  that  they  will  be  very  inconsiderable.  There  will  be  no 
occasion  for  it,  as  proper  regulations  will  raise  very  large 
sums  of  money.  We  know  that  Congress  will  have  sufficient 
power  to  make  such  regulations.  The  moment  that  the 
Constitution  is  established.  Congress  will  have  credit  with 
foreign  nations.  Our  situation  being  known,  they  can  bor- 
row any  sum.  It  will  be  better  for  them  to  raise  any  money 
the}  want  at  p  esent  by  borrowing  than  by  taxation.  It  is 
well  known  tha   in  this  country  gold  and  silver  vanish  when 

Maclainb.]  north  CAROLINA.  189 

paper  money  is  made.  When  we  adopt,  if  ever,  gold  and 
silver  will  again  appear  in  circulation.  People  will  not  let 
their  hard  money  go,  because  they  know  that  paper  mon  "v 
cannot  repay  it.  After  the  war,  we  had  more  money  in  gold 
and  silver,  in  circulation,  than  we  have  nominal  money  now. 
Suppose  Congress  wished  to  raise  a  million  of  money  more 
than  the  imposts.  Suppose  they  borrow  it.  -They  can 
easily  borrow  it  in  Europe  at  four  per  cent.  The  interest 
of  that  sum  will  be  but  £40,000.  So  that  the  people,  in- 
stead of  having  the  whole  £1,000,000  to  pay,  will  have  but 
£40,000  to  pay,  which  will  hardly  be  felt.  The  proportion 
of  £40,000  for  this  state  would  be  a  trifle.  In  seven  years' 
time,  the  people  would  be  able,  by  only  being  obliged  to  pay 
the  interest  annually,  to  save  money,  and  pay  the  whole 
principal,  perhaps,  afterwards,  without  much  difficulty. 
Congress  will  not  lay  a  single  tax  when  it  is  not  to  the  advan- 
tage of  the  people  at  large.  The  western  lands  will  also  be 
a  considerable  fund.  The  sale  of  them  will  aid  the  revenue 
greatly,  and  we  have  reason  to  believe  the  impost  will  be 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman,  instead  of  reasons 
and  authorities  to  convince  me,  assertions  are  made.  Many 
respectable  gentlemen  are  satisfied  that  the  taxes  will  be 
higher.  By  what  authority  does  the  gentleman  say  that  the 
impost  will  be  productive,  when  our  trade  is  come  to  noth- 
ing? Sir,  borrowing  money  is  detrimental  and  ruinous  to 
nations.  The  interest  is  lost  money.  We  have  been  obliged 
to  borrow  money  to  pay  interest !  We  have  no  way  of  pay- 
ing additional  and  extraordinary  sums.  The  people  cannot 
stand  them.  I  should  be  extremely  sorry  to  live  under  a 
government  which  the  people  could  not  understand,  and 
which  it  would  require  the  greatest  abilities  to  understand. 
It  ought  to  be  plain  and  easy  to  the  meanest  capacity.  What 
would  be  the  consequence  of  ambiguity  ?  It  may  raiwse  an- 
imosity and  revolutions,  and  involve  us  in  bloodshed.  It 
becomes  us  to  be  extremely  cautious. 

Mr.  MACLAINE.  Mr.  Chairman,  1  would  ask  the  gen- 
tleman what  is  the  state  of  our  trade.  I  do  not  pretend  to 
a  very  great  knowledge  in  trade,  but  1  know  something  of  it. 
If  our  trade  be  in  a  low  situation,  it  must  be  the  effect  of 
our  present  weak  government.  I  really  believe  that  Con- 
gress will  be  able  to  raise  almost  what  sums  they  please  by 

190  DEBATES.  [QALLoWAt. 

the  impost.  I  know  it  will,  though  the  gentleman  may  call 
it  assertion.  I  am  not  unacquainted  with  the  territory  or 
resources  of  this  country.  The  resources,  under  proper  reg- 
ulations, are  very  great.  In  the  course  of  a  few  years,  we 
can  raise  money  without  borrowing  a  single  shilling.  It  is 
not  disgraceful  to  borrow  money.  The  richest  nations  have 
recurred  to  loans  on  some  emergencies.  1  believe,  as  much 
as  1  do  in  my  existence,  that  Congress  will  have  it  in  their 
power  to  borrow  money  if  our  government  be  such  as  people 
can  depend  upon.  Ihey  have  been  able  to  borrow  now 
under  the  present  feeble  system.  If  so,  can  there  be  any 
doubt  of  their  being  able  to  do  it  under  a  respectable  gov- 
ernment ? 

Mr.  M'DOWALL  replied,  that  our  trade  was  on  a  con- 
temptible footing;  that  it  was  come  almost  to  nothing,  and 
lower  in  North  Carolina  than  any  where  ;  that  therefore  lit- 
tle could  be  expected  from  the  impost. 

Mr.  J.  GALLOWAY.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  should  make  no 
objection  to  this  clause  were  the  powers  granted  by  the  Con- 
stitution sufficiently  defined ;  for  I  am  clearly  of  opinion  that 
it  is  absolutely  necessary  for  every  government,  and  especial- 
ly for  a  general  government,  that  its  laws  should  be  the 
supreme  law  of  the  land.  But  I  hope  the  gentlemen  of  the 
committee  will  advert  to  the  10th  section  of  the  1st  article. 
This  is  a  negative  which  the  Constitution  of  our  own  state 
does  not  impose  upon  us.  I  wish  the  committee  to  attend 
to  that  part  of  it  which  provides  that  no  state  shall  pass 
any  law  which  will  impair  the  obligation  of  contracts.  Our 
public  securities  are  at  a  low  ebb,  and  have  been  so  for  many 
years.  We  well  know  that  this  country  has  taken  those  se- 
curities as  specie.  This  hangs  over  our  heads  as  a  con- 
tract. There  is  a  million  and  a  half  in  circulation  at  least. 
That  clause  of  the  Constitution  may  compel  us  to  make 
good  the  nominal  value  of  these  securities.  I  trust  this 
country  never  will  leave  it  to  the  hands  of  the  general  gov- 
ernment to  redeem  the  securities  which  they  have  already 
given.  Should  this  be  the  case,  the  consequence  will  be, 
that  they  will  be  purchased  by  speculators,  when  the  citizens 
will  part  with  them,  perhaps  for  a  very  trifling  consideration. 
Thos?  speculators  will  look  at  the  Constitution,  and  see  that 
they  will  be  paid  in  gold  and  silver.  They  will  buy  them 
at  a  half-crown  in  the  pound,  and  get  the  full  nominal  \^alue 

Abbot.J  north  CAROUNA.  191 

for  them  in  gold  and  silver.  I  therefore  wish  the  conamittee 
to  consider  whether  North  Carolina  can  redeem  those  secu- 
rities in  the  manner  most  agreeable  to  her  citizens,  and  jus- 
tifiable to  the  world,  if  this  Constitution  be  adopted. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  believe  neither  the  10th 
section,  cited  by  the  gentleman,  nor  any  other  part  of  the 
Constitution,  has  vested  the  general  government  with  power 
to  interfere  with  the  public  securities  of  any  state.  I  will 
venture  to  say  that  the  last  thing  which  the  general  govern- 
ment will  attempt  to  do  will  be  this.  They  have  nothing 
to  do  with  it.  The  clause  refers  merely  to  contracts  between 
individuals.  That  section  is  the  best  in  the  Constitution. 
It  is  founded  on  the  strongest  principles  of  justice.  It  is  a 
section,  in  short,  which  I  thought  would  have  endeared  the 
Constitution  to  this  country.  When  the  worthy  gentleman 
comes  to  consider,  he  will  find  that  the  general  government 
cannot  possibly  interfere  with  such  securities.  How  can  it? 
It  has  no  negative  clause  to  that  effect.  Where  is  there  a 
negative  clause,  operating  negatively  on  the  states  them- 
selves ?  It  cannot  operate  retrospectively,  for  this  would  be 
repuofnant  to  its  own  express  provisions.  It  will  be  left  to 
ourselves  to  redeem  them  as  we  please.  We  wished  we 
could  put  it  on  the  shoulders  of  Congress,  but  could  not. 
Securities  may  be  higher,  but  never  less.  I  conceive,  sir, 
that  this  is  a  very  plain  case,  and  that  it  must  appear  per- 
fectly clear  to  the  committee  that  the  gentleman's  alarms 
ax  groundless. 

Wednesday,  July  30,  178b. 

The  last  clause  of  the  6th  article  read. 

Mr.  HENRY  ABBOT,  after  a  short  exordium,  which 
tvas  not  distinctly  henrd,  proceeded  thus :  Some  are  afraid. 
Air.  Chairman,  that,  should  the  Constitution  be  received, 
they  would  be  deprived  of  the  privilege  of  worshipping  God 
according;  to  their  consciences,  which  would  be  taking  from 
them  a  l)enefit  they  enjoy  under  the  present  constitution. 
They  wish  to  know  if  their  religious  and  civil  lilierties  be 
secured  under  this  system,  or  whether  the  general  govern- 
ment may  not  make  laws  infringing  their  religious  liberties. 
The  worthy  member  from  Edenton  mentioned  sundry  politi- 
cal reasons  why  treaties  should  be  the  supreme  law  of  the 
land      L  is  feared,  by  some  people,  that,  by  the  power  of 


making  treaties,  they  might  make  a  treaty  engaging  with 
foreign  powers  to  adopt  the  Roman  Catholic  religion  in  the 
United  Stales,  which  would  prevent  the  people  from  wor- 
shipping God  according  to  their  own  consciences.  The 
worthy  member  from  Halifax  has  in  some  measure  satisfied 
my  mind  on  this  subject.  But  others  may  be  dissatisfied. 
Many  wish  to  know  what  religion  shall  be  established.  I 
believe  a  majority  of  the  community  are  Presbyterians.  1 
am,  for  my  part,  against  any  exclusive  establishment;  but  if 
there  were  any,  I  would  prefer  the  Episcopal.  The  exclu- 
sion of  religious  tests  is^  by  many  thought  dangerous  and 
impolitic.  They  suppose  that  if  there  be  no  religious  test 
required,  pagans,  deists,  and  Mahometans  might  obtain  offices 
among  us,  and  that  the  senators  and  representatives  might 
all  be  pagans.  Every  person  employed  by  the  general  and 
state  governments  is  to  take  an  oath  to  support  the  former. 
Some  are  desirous  to  know  how  and  by  whom  they  are  to 
swear,  since  no  religious  tests  are  required  —  whether  they 
are  to  swear  by  Jupiter,  Juno,  Minerva,  Proserpine,  or 
Pluto.  We  ought  to  be  suspicious  of  our  liberties.  We 
have  felt  the  effects  of  oppressive  measures,  and  know  the 
happy  consequences  of  being  jealous  of  our  rights.  I  would 
be  glad  some  gentleman  would  endeavor  to  obviate  these  ob- 
jections, in  order  to  satisfy  the  religious  part  of  the  society. 
Could  1  be  convinced  that  the  objections  were  well  founded, 
I  would  then  declare  my  opinion  against  the  Constitution. 
[Mr.  Abl)ot  added  several  other  observations,  but  spoke  too 
low  to  be  heard.] 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  nothing  is  more  desira- 
ble than  to  remove  the  scruples  of  any  gentleman  on  this 
interesting  subject.  Those  concerning  religion  are  entitled 
to  particular  respect.  I  did  not  expect  any  objection  to  this 
particular  regulation,  which,  in  my  opinion,  is  calculated  to 
prevent  evils  of  the  most  pernicious  consequences  to  society. 
Every  person  in  the  least  conversant  in  the  history  of  man- 
kind, knows  what  dreadful  mischiefs  have  been  committed 
by  religious  persecutions.  Under  the  color  of  religious  tests, 
the  utmost  cruelties  have  been  exercised.  Those  in  power 
have  generally  considered  all  wisdom  centred  in  themselves ; 
that  they  alone  had  a  right  to  dictate  to  of  mankind ; 
and  that  all  opposition  to  their  tenets  was  profane  and  im- 
pious.    The  consequence  of  this  intolerant  spirit  had  been, 


that  each  church  has  in  turn  set  itself  up  against  every  other ; 
and  persecutions  and  wars  of  the  most  imphicable  and  bloody 
nature  have  taken  place  in  every  part  of  the  world.  America 
has  set  an  example  to  mankind  to  think  more  modestly  and 
reasonably  —  that  a  man  may  be  of  different  religious  senti- 
ments from  our  own,  \vithout  being  a  bad  member  of  society. 
The  principles  of  toleration,  to  the  honor  of  this  age,  are 
doing  away  those  errors  and  prejudices  which  have  so  long 
prevailed,  even  in  the  most  intolerant  countries.  In  the  Ro- 
man Catholic  countries,  principles  of  moderation  are  adopted 
which  would  have  been  spurned  at  a  century  or  two  ago.  I 
should  be  sorry  to  find,  when  examples  of  toleration  are  set 
even  by  arbitrary  governments,  that  this  country,  so  im- 
pressed with  the  highest  sense  of  lil)erty,  should  adopt  prin- 
ciples on  this  subject  thnt  were  narrow  and  illiberal. 

I  consider  the  clause  under  consideration  as  one  of  the 
strongest  proofs  that  could  be  adduced,  that  it  was  the  inten- 
tion of  those  who  formed  this  system  to  establish  a  general 
religious  liberty  in  America.  Were  we  to  judge  from  the 
examples  of  religious  tests  in  other  countries,  we  should  be 
persuaded  that  they  do  not  answer  the  purpose  for  which 
they  are  intended.  What  is  the  consequence  of  such  in 
England  ?  In  that  country  no  man  can  be  a  member  in  the 
House  of  Commons,  or  hold  any  office  under  the  crown, 
without  taking  the  sacrament  according  to  the  rites  of  the 
Church.  This,  in  the  first  instance,  must  degrade  and  pro- 
fane a  rite  which  never  ought  to  be  taken  but  from  a  sincere 
principle  of  devotion.  To  a  man  of  base  principles,  it  is 
made  a  mere  instrument  of  civil  policy.  The  intention  was, 
to  exclude  all  persons  from  offices  but  the  meml>ers  of  the 
Church  of  England.  Yet  it  is  notorious  that  dissenters 
qualify  themselves  for  offices  in  this  manner,  though  they 
never  conform  to  the  Church  on  any  other  occasion ;  and  men 
of  no  religion  at  all  have  no  scruple  to  make  use  of  this  quali- 
fication. It  never  was  known  thnt  a  man  who  had  no  prin- 
ciples of  religion  hesitated  to  perform  apy  rite  when  it  was 
convenient  for  his  private  interest.  No  test  can  bind  such 
a  one.  I  am  therefore  clearly  of  opinion  that  such  a  dis- 
crimination would  neither  be  effectual  for  its  own  purposes, 
nor,  if  it  could,  ought  it  by  any  means  to  be  made.  Upon 
the  principles  I  have  stated,  I  confess  the  restriction  on  the 
power  of  Congress,  in  this  particular,  has  my  hearty  appro- 
VOL.  IV.  26  17 

194  DEBATES.  [Irbdbll 

bation.  They  certainly  have  no  authority  to  interfere  in  the 
establishment  of  any  religion  whatsoever;  and  I  am  aston- 
ished that  any  gentleman  should  conceive  they  have.  Is 
there  any  j)ovver  given  to  Congress  in  matters  of  religion  ? 
Can  they  pass  a  single  act  to  impair  our  religious  liberties  ? 
If  they  could,  it  would  be  a  just  cause  of  alarm.  If  they 
could,  sir,  no  man  would  have  more  horror  against  it  than 
myself.  Happily,  no  sect  here  is  superior  to  another.  As 
long  as  this  is  the  case,  we  shall  be  free  from  those  persecu- 
tions and  distractions  with  which  other  countries  have  been 
torn.  If  any  future  Congress  should  pass  an  act  concerning 
the  religion  of  the  country,  it  would  be  an  act  which  they 
are  not  authorized  to  pass,  by  the  Constitution,  and  which 
the  people  would  not  obey.  Every  one  would  ask,  "  Who 
authorized  the  government  to  pass  such  an  act  ?  It  is  not 
warranted  by  the  Constitution,  and  is  barefaced  usurpation." 
The  power  to  make  treaties  can  never  be  supposed  to  in- 
clude a  right  to  establish  a  foreign  religion  among  ourselves, 
though  it  might  authorize  a  toleration  of  others. 

But  it  is  objected  that  the  people  of  America  may,  per- 
haps, choose  representatives  who  have  no  religion  at  all,  and 
that  pagans  and  Mahometans  may  be  admitted  into  offices. 
But  how  is  it  possible  to  exclude  any  set  of  men,  without 
takinji:  away  that  principle  of  religious  freedom  which  w-e 
ourselves  so  warmly  contend  for  ?  This  is  the  foundation 
on  which  persecution  has  been  raised  in  every  part  of  the 
world.  The  people  in  power  were  always  right,  and  every 
body  else  wrong.  If  you  admit  the  least  difference,  the 
door  to  persecution  is  opened.  Nor  would  it  answer  the 
purpose,  for  the  worst  part  of  the  excluded  sects  would  com- 
ply with  the  test,  and  the  best  men  only  be  kept  out  of  our 
counsels.  But  it  is  never  to  be  supposed  that  the  people  of 
America  will  trust  their  dearest  rights  to  persons  w^ho  have 
no  religion  at  all,  or  a  religion  materially  different  from  their 
own.  It  would  be  happy  for  mankind  if  religion  was  per- 
mitted to  take  its  own  course,  and  maintain  itself  by  the 
excellence  of  its  own  doctrines.  The  divine  Author  of  our 
religion  never  wished  for  its  support  by  worldly  authority. 
Has  he  not  said  that  the  gates  of  hell  shall  not  prevail 
against  it  ?  It  made  much  greater  progress  for  itself,  than 
when  supported  by  the  greatest  authority  upon  earth. 

It  has  been  asked  by  that  respectable  gentleman  (Mi 


Abbot)  what  is  the  meaning  of  that  part,  where  it  is  said 
that  the  United  States  shall  guaranty  to  every  state  in  the 
Union  a  republican  form  of  government,  and  why  a  guar- 
anty  of  religious  freedom  was  not  included.  The  meaning 
of  the  guaranty  provided  w^as  this  :  There  being  thirteen 
governments  confederated  upon  a  republican  principle,  it 
was  essential  to  the  existence  and  harmony  of  the  confeder- 
acy that  each  should  be  a  republican  government,  and  that 
no  state  should  have  a  right  to  establish  an  aristocracy  or 
monarchy.  That  clause  was  therefore  inserted  to  prevent 
any  state  from  establishing  any  government  but  a  republican 
one.  Every  one  must  be  convinced  of  the  mischief  that 
would  ensue,  if  any  state  had  a  right  to  change  its  govern- 
ment to  a  monarchy.  If  a  monarchy  was  established  in  any 
one  state,  it  would  endeavor  to  subvert  the  freedom  of  the 
others,  and  would,  probably,  by  degrees  succeed  in  it.  This 
must  strike  the  mind  of  every  person-  here,  who  recollects 
the  history  of  Greece,  when  she  had  confederated  govern- 
ments. The  king  of  Macedon,  by  his  arts  and  intrigues, 
got  himself  admitted  a  member  of  the  Amphictyonic  council, 
which  was  the  superintending  government  of  the  Grecian 
republics  ;  and  in  a  short  time  he  became  master  of  them  all. 
It  is,  then,  necessary  that  the  members  of  a  confederacy 
should  have  similar  governments.  But  consistently  with 
this  restriction,  the  states  may  make  what  change  in  their 
own  governments  they  think  proper.  Had  Congress  under- 
taken to  guaranty  religious  freedom,  or  any  particular  species 
of  it,  they  would  then  have  had  a  pretence  to  interfere  in  a 
subject  they  have  nothing  to  do  with.  *  Each  state,  so  far  as 
the  clause  in  question  does  not  interfere,  must  be  left  to  the 
operation  of  its  own  principles. 

There  is  a  degree  of  jealousy  which  it  is  impossible  to 
satisfy.  Jealousy  in  a  free  government  ought  to  be  res|)ect- 
ed  ;  but  it  may  be  carried  to  too  great  an  extent.  It  is  im- 
practicable to  guard  against  all  possible  danger  of  people's 
choosing  their  officers  indiscreetly.  If  they  have  a  right  to 
choose,  they  may  make  a  bad  choice. 

I  met,  by  accident,  with  a  pamphlet,  this  morning,  in 
which  the  author  states,  as  a  very  serious  danger,  that  the 
pope  of  Rome  might  be  elected  President.  I  confess  this 
never  struck  me  before  ;  and  if  the  author  had  read  all  the 
qualification*^  of  a  President,  perhaps  his  fears  might  have 

196  DEBATES.  [Irboeu. 

fbeen  quteted.  No  man  but  a  native,  or  who  has  resided  four- 
teen years  in  America,  can  be  chosen  President.  I  know 
not  all  the  qualifications  for  pope,  but  I  believe  he  must  be 
taken  from  the  college  of  cardinals;  and  probably  there  are 
many  previous  steps  necessary  before  he  arrives  at  this  dig- 
nity. A  native  of  America  must  have  very  singular  good 
fortune,  who,  after  residing  fourteen  years  in  his  own  country, 
should  go  to  Europe,  enter  into  Romish  orders,  obtain  the 
promotion  of  cardinal,  afterwards  that  of  pope,  and  at  length 
be  so  much  in  the  confidence  of  his  own  country  as  to  be 
elected  President.  It  would  be  still  more  extraordinary  if 
he  should  give  up  his  popedom  for  our  presidency.  Sir,  it  is 
impossible  to  treat  such  idle  fears  with  any  degree  of  gravity. 
Why  is  it  not  objected,  that  there  is  no  provision  in  the  Con- 
stitution against  electing  one  of  the  kings  of  Europe  Presi- 
dent?    It  would  be  a  clause  equally  rational  and  judicious. 

I  hope  that  I  have,  in  some  degree  satisfied  the  doubts  of 
the  gentleman.  This  article  is  calculated  to  secure  univer- 
sal religious  liberty,  by  putting  all  sects  on  a  level  —  the  only 
way  to  prevent  persecution.  I  thought  nobody  would  have 
objected  to  this  clause,  which  deserves,  in  my  opinion,  the 
highest  approbation.  This  country/ has  already  had  the 
honor  of  setting  an  example  of  civil  freedom,  and  I  trust  it 
will  likewise  have  the  honor  of  teaching  the  rest  of  the  world 
the  way  to  religious  freedom  also.  God  grant  both  may  be 
perpetuated  to  the  end  of  time  ! 

Mr.  ABBOT,  after  expressing  his  obligations  for  the  ex- 
planation which  had  been  given,  observed  that  no  answer 
had  been  given  to  the  question  he  put  concerning  the  form 
of  an  oath. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  beg  pardon  for  having 
omitted  to  take  notice  of  that  part  which  the  worthy  gentle- 
man has  mentioned.  It  was  by  no  means  from  design,  but 
from  its  having  escaped  my  memory,  as  I  have  not  the  con- 
veniency  of  taking  notes.  I  shall  now  satisfy  him  in  that 
particular  in  the  best  manner  in  my  power. 

According  to  the  modern  definition  of  an  oath,  it  is  con- 
sidered a  "solemn  appeal  to  the  Supreme  Being,  for  the  truth 
of  what  is  said,  by  a  person  who  believes  in  the  existence  of 
a  Supreme  Being  and  in  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  pun- 
ishments, according  to  that  form  which  will  bind  his  con- 
science most."     It  was  long  held  that  no  oath  could   be 


administered  but  upon  the  New  Testament,  except  to  a  J-ew, 
who  was  allowed  to  swear  upon  the  Old.  According  to  this> 
notion,  none  but  Jews  and  Christians  could  take  an  oath ; 
and  heathens  were  altogether  excluded.  At  length,  by  the 
operation  of  principles  of  toleration,  these  narrow  notions 
were  done  away.  Men  at  length  considered  that  there  were 
many  virtuous  men  in  the  world  who  had  not  had  an  oppor- 
tunity of  being  instructed  either  in  the  Old  or  New  Testa- 
ment, who  yet  very  sincerely  believed  in  a  Supreme  Being, 
and  in  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments.  It  is  well 
known  that  many  nations  entertain  this  belief  who  do  not 
believe  either  in  the  Jewish  or  Christian  religion.  Indeed, 
there  are  few  people  so  grossly  ignorant  or  barlmrous  as  to 
have  no  religion  at  all.  And  if  none  but  Christians  or  Jews 
could  be  examined  upon  oath,  many  innocent  persons  might 
suffer  for  want  of  the  testimony  of  others.  In  regard  to  the 
form  of  an  oath,  that  ought  to  be  governed  by  the  religion 
of  the  person  taking  it.  1  remember  to  have  read  an  instance 
which  happened  in  England,  I  believe  in  the  time  of  Charles 
11.  A  man  who  was  a  material  witness  in  a  cause,  refused 
to  swear  upon  the  book,  and  was  admitted  to  swear  with  his 
uplifted  hand.  The  jury  had  a  difficulty  in  crediting  him; 
but  the  chief  justice  told  them,  he  had,  in  his  opinion,  taken 
as  strong  an  oath  as  any  of  the  other  witnesses,  though,  had 
he  been  to  swear  himself,  he  should  have  kissed  the  book. 
A  very  remarkable  instance  also  happened  in  England,  about 
forty  years  ago,  of  a  person  who  was  admitted  to  take  an 
oath  according  to  the  rites  of  his  own  country,  though  he  was 
a  heathen.  He  was  an  East  Indian,  who  had  a  great  suit  in 
chancery,  and  his  answer  upon  oath  to  a  bill  filed  against 
him  was  absolutely  necessary.  Not  believing  either  in  the 
Old  or  New  Testament,  he  could  not  be  sworn  in  the  accus- 
tomed manner,  but  was  sworn  according  to  the  form  of  the 
Gentoo  religion,  which  he  professed,  by  touching  the  foot  of 
a  priest.  It  appeared  that,  according  to  the  tenets  of  this 
religion,  its  members  believed  in  a  Supreme  Being,  and  in  a 
future  stite  of  rewards  and  punishments.  It  was  accord- 
ingly held  by  the  judges,  upon  great  consideration,  that  the 
oath  ought  to  be  received ;  they  considering  that  it  was 
probable  those  of  that  religion  were  equally  bound  in  con- 
science by  an  oath  according  to  their  form  of  swearing,  as 
they  themselves  were  by  one  of  theirs ;  and  that  it  would  be 

I J8  DEBATES.  IJohmatok 

a  repioach  to  the  justice  of  the  country,  if  a  man,  merely  be- 
cause he  was  of  a  different  religion  from  their  own,  should 
be  denied  redress  of  an  injury  he  had  sustained.  Ever  since 
this  great  case,  it  has  been  universally  considered  that,  in 
administering  an  oath,  it  is  only  necessary  to  inquire  if  the 
person  who  is  to  take  it,  believes  in  a  Supreme  Being, 
and  in  a  future  state  of  rewards  and  punishments.  If  he 
does,  the  oath  is  to  be  administered  according  to  that  form 
which  it  is  supposed  will  bind  his  conscience  most.  It  is, 
however,  necessary  that  such  a  belief  should  be  entertained, 
because  otherwise  there  would  be  nothing  to  bind  his  con- 
science that  could  be  relied  on ;  since  there  are  many  cases 
where  the  terror  of  punishment  in  this  world  for  perjury  could 
not  be  dreaded.  I  have  endeavored  to  satisfy  the  committee. 
We  may,  I  think,  very  safely  leave  religion  to  itself;  and  as 
to  the  form  of  the  oath,  1  think  this  may  well  be  trusted  to 
the  general  government,  to  be  applied  on  the  principles  1 
have  mentioned. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  expressed  great  astonishment  that  the 
people  were  alarmed  on  the  subject  of  religion.  This,  he 
said,  must  have  arisen  from  the  great  pains  which  had  been 
taken  to  prejudice  men's  minds  against  the  Constitution. 
He  begged  leave  to  add  the  following  few  observations  to 
what  had  l)een  so  ably  said  by  the  gentleman  last  up. 

I  read  the  Constitution  over  and  over,  but  could  not  see 
one  cause  of  apprehension  or  jealousy  on  this  subject. 
When  I  heard  there  were  apprehensions  that  the  pope  of 
Rome  could  be  the  President  of  the  United  States,  I  was 
greatly  astonished.  It  might  as  well  be  said  that  the  king 
of  England  or  France,  or  the  Grand  Turk,  could  be  chosen 
to  that  office.  It  would  have  been  as  good  an  argument. 
It  appears  to  me  that  it  would  have  been  dangerous,  if  Con- 
gress could  intermeddle  with  the  subject  of  religion.  True 
religion  is  derived  from  a  much  higher  source  than  human 
laws.  When  any  attempt  is  made,  by  any  government,  to 
restrain  men's  consciences,  no  good  consequence  can  pos- 
sibly follow.  It  is  apprehended  that  Jews,  Mahometans, 
pagans,  &c.,  may  be  elected  to  high  offices  under  the  gov- 
ernment of  the  United  States.  Those  who  are  Mahom- 
etans, or  any  others  who  are  not  professors  of  the  Christian 
religion,  can  never  be  elected  to  the  office  of  President,  or 
other  high  office,  but  in  one  of  two  cases.     First,  if  thp 

Caldweix.]  north   CAROLINA.  liJ& 

people  of  America  lay  aside  the  Christian  religion  allogetliei, 
it  may  happen.  Should  this  unfortunately  take  place,  the 
people  will  choose  such  men  as  think  as  they  do  themselves. 
Another  case  is,  if  any  persons  of  such  descriptions  should, 
notwithstanding  their  religion,  acquire  the  confidence  and 
esteem  of  the  people  of  America  by  their  good  conduct  and 
practice  of  virtue,  they  may  be  chosen.  I  leave  it  to  gen- 
tlemen's candor  to  judge  what  probability  there  is  of  the 
people's  choosing  men  of  different  sentiments  from  them- 

But  great  apprehensions  have  been  raised  as  to  the  influ- 
ence of  the  East(irn  States.  When  you  attend  to  circum- 
stances, this  will  have  no  weight.  I  know  but  two  or  three^ 
states  where  there  is  the  least  chance  of  establishing  any 
particular  religion.  The  people  of  Massachusetts  and  Con- 
necticut are  mostly  Presbyterians.  In  every  other  state,  the 
people  are  divided  into  a  great  number  of  sects.  In  Rhode 
Island,  the  tenets  bf  the  Baptists,  I  believe,  prevail.  In 
New  York,  they  are  divided  very  much :  the  most  numerous 
are  the  Episcopalians  and  the  Baptists.  In  New  Jersey, 
they  are  as  much  divided  as  we  are.  In  Pennsylvania,  if 
any  sect  prevails  more  than  others,  it  is  that  of  the  Quakers. 
In  Maryland,  the  Episcopalians  are  most  numerous,  though 
there  are  other  sects.  In  Virginia,  there  are  many  sects; 
you  all  know  what  their  religious  sentiments  are.  So  in  all 
the  Southern  States  they  differ ;  as  also  in  New  Hampshire. 
I  hope,  therefore,  that  jrenilemen  will  see  there  is  no  cause 
of  fear  that  any  one  religion  shall  be  exclusively  established. 

Mr.  CALDWELL  thought  that  some  danger  might  arise. 
He  imagined  it  might  be  objected  to  in  a  political  as  well  as 
in  a  religious  view.     In  the  first  place,  he  said,  there  was  an 
invitation  for  Jews  and  pagans  of  every  kind  to  come  among 
Us.      At  some  future  period,  said  he,  this  might  endanger 
the  character  of  the  United  States.     Moreover,  even  those 
who  do  not  regard  religion,  acknowledge  that  the  Christian 
religion  is  best  calculated,  of  all  religions,  to  make    good 
members  of  society,  on  account  of  its  morality.     I  think, 
then,  added  he,  that,  in  a  political  view,  those  jjentlemen  who 
formed  this  Constitution  should  not   have    given  this  invi- 
tation to  Jews  and  heathens.     All  those  who  have  any  reli- 
gion are  against  the  emigration  of  those  people  from  the 
eastern  hemisphere. 



Mr  SPENCER  was  an  advocate  for  securing  every  nn- 
alienable  right,  and  that  of  worshipping  God  according  to 
the  dictates  of  conscience  in  particular.  He  therefore  thought 
that  no  one  particular  religion  should  be  established.  Reli- 
gious tests,  said  he,  have  been  the  foundation  of  persecutions 
in  all  countries.  Persons  who  are  conscientious  will  not  take 
the  oath  required  by  religious  tests,  and  will  therefore  be  ex- 
cluded from  offices,  though  equally  capable  of  discharging 
them  as  any  member  of  the  society.  It  is  feared,  continued 
he,  that  persons  of  bad  principles,  deists,  atheists,  &c.,  may 
come  into  this  country;  and  there  is  nothing  to  restrain  them 
from  being  eligible  to  offices.  He  asked  if  it  was  reasonable 
to  suppose  that  the  people  would  choose  men  without  re- 
garding their  characters.  Mr.  Spencer  then  continued  thus: 
Gentlemen  urge  that  the  want  of  a  test  admits  the  most 
vicious  characters  to  offices.  V  desire  to  know  what  test 
could  bind  them.  If  they  were  of  such  principles,  it  would 
not  keep  them  from  enjoying  those  offices.  On  the  oth^r 
hand,  it  would  exclude  from  offices  conscientious  and  truly 
religious  people,  thoui^h  equally  capable  as  others.  Consci- 
entious persons  would  not  take  such  an  oath,  and  would  be 
therefore  excluded.  This  would  be  a  great  cause  of  objec- 
tion to  a  religious  test.  But  in  this  case,  as  there  is  not  a 
rfijigious  test  required,  it  leaves  religion  on  the  solid  foun- 
dation of  its  own  inherent  validity,  without  an}'  connection 
with  temporal  authority ;  and  no  kind  of  oppression  can  take 
place.  I  confess  it  strikes  me  so.  I  am  sorry  to  differ  from 
the  worthy  gentleman.  I  cannot  object  to  this  part  of  the 
Constitution.  I  wish  every  other  part  was  as  good  and 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  approved  of  the  worthy  member's 
candor.  He  admitted  a  possibility  of  Jews,  pagans,  &c., 
emigrating  to  the  United  States ;  yet,  he  said,  they  could 
not  be  in  proportion  to  the  emigration  of  Christians  who 
should  come  from  other  countries  ;  that,  in  all  probability, 
tne  children  even  of  such  people  would  be  Christians ;  and 
that  this,  with  the  rapid  population  of  the  United  States, 
their  zeal  for  religion,  and  love  of  liberty,  would,  he  trtisted^ 
add  to  the  progress  of  the  Christian  religion  among  us. 

The  7th  article  read  without  any  objection  against  it. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON,  after  a  short  speech,  which  was  not 
distinctly  heard,  made  a  motion  to  the  following  effect  •  — 

Lewoir.]  north  CAROLINA.  201 

That  this  committee,  having  fully  deliberated  on  the  Constitution  pro- 
posed  for  the  future  government  of  the  United  States  of  America,  by  the 
Federal  Convention  lately  held  at  Philadelphia,  on  the  17th  day  of  Sep- 
tember lasit,  and  having  taken  into  their  serious  consideration  the  present 
critical  situation  of  America,  which  induces  them  to  be  of  opinion,  thai 
though  certain  amendments  to  the  said  Constitution  may  be  wished  for, 
yet  that  those  amendments  should  be  proposed  subsequent  to  the  ratiBca 
tion  on  the  part  of  this  state,  and  not  previous  to  it, —  they  therefore  rec- 
ommend that  the  Convention  do  ratify  the  Constitution,  and  at  the  same 
time  propose  amendments,  to  take  place  in  one  of  the  modes  prescribed 
by  the  Constitution. 

Mr.  LENOIR.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  conceive  that  I  shall 
not  be  out  of  order  to  make  some  observations  on  this  last 
part  of  the  system,  and  take  some  retrospective  view  of  some 
other  parts  of  it.  I  think  it  not  proper  for  our  adoption,  as  I 
consider  that  it  endatigers  our  liberties.  When  we  consider 
this  system  collectively,  we  must  be  surprised  to  think  that 
any  set  of  men,  who  were  delegated  to  amend  the  Confed- 
eration, should  proj)ose  to  annihilate  it;  for  that  and  this  sys- 
tem are  utterly  different,  and  cannot  exist  together.  It  has 
been  said  that  the  fullest  confidence  should  be  put  in  those 
characters  who  formed  this  Constitution.  We  will  admit 
them,  in  private  and  public  transactions,  to  be  good  charac- 
ters. But,  sir,  it  appears  to  me,  and  every  other  member  of 
this  committee,  that  they  exceeded  their  powers.  Those 
gentlemen  had  no  sort  of  power  to  form  a  new  constitution 
altogether  ;  neither  had  the  citizens  of  this  country  such  an 
idea  in  their  view.  I  cannot  undertake  to  say  what  princi- 
ples actuated  them.  I  must  conceive  they  were  mistaken  in 
their  (}olitics,  and  that  this  system  does  not  secure  the  un- 
alienable rights  of  freemen.  It  has  some  aristocratical  and 
some  monarchical  features,  and  perhaps  some  of  them  in- 
tended the  establishment  of  one  of  these  governments. 
Whatever  might  be  their  intent,  according  to  my  views,  it 
will  lead  to  the  most  dangerous  aristocracy  that  ever  was 
thought  of — an  aristocracy  established  on  a  constitutional 
l)ottom !  I  conceive  (and  I  believe  most  of  this  committee 
will  like>%ise)  that  this  is  so  dangerous,  that  I  should  like  as 
well  to  have  no  constitution  at  all.  Their  powers  are  almost 

A  constitution  ought  to  be  understood  by  every  one.  The 
most  humble  and  trifling  characters  in  the  country  have 
a  right  to  know  what  foundation  they  stand  upon.  I  con- 
fess I  do  not  see  the  end  of  the  powers  here  proposed,  noi 
VOL.  IV.  26 

DEBATES  [Lenoir 

Dns  for  granting  them.  The  principal  end  of  a  con- 
^.a*uiion  is  to  set  forth  what  must  be  givfen  up  for  the  com- 
muniiy  at  large,  and  to  secure  those  rio^hts  which  ought  never 
to  be  infringed.  The  proposed  plan  secures  no  right ;  or,  if 
it  does,  it  is  in  so  vague  and  undeterminate  a  manner,  that 
we  do  not  understand  it.  My  constituents  instructed  me  to 
oppose  the  adoption  of  this  Constitution.  The  principal 
reasons  are  as  follow:  The  right  of  representation  is  not 
fairly  and  explicitly  preserved  to  the  people,  it  being  easy 
to  evade  that  j)rivilege  as  provided  in  this  system,  and 
the  terms  of  election  being  too  long.  If  our  General  Assem- 
bly be  corrupt,  at  the  end  of  the  year  we  can  make  new  men 
of  them  by  sending  others  in  their  stead.  It  is  not  so  here. 
If  there  be  any  reason  to  think  that  human  nature  is  corrupt, 
and  that  there  is  a  disposition  in  men  to  aspire  to  power, 
they  may  embrace  an  opportunity,  during  their  long  continu- 
ance in  office,  by  means  of  their  powers,  to  take  away  the 
rights  of  the  people.  The  senators  are  chosen  for  six  years, 
and  two  thirds  of  them,  with  the  President,  have  most  ex- 
tensive powers.  They  may  enter  into  a  dangerous  combina 
tion.  And  they  may  be  continually  reelected.  The  Presi- 
dent may  be  as  good  a  man  as  any  in  existence,  but  he  is 
but  a  nian.  He  may  be  corrupt.  He  has  an  opportunity  of 
forming  plans  dangerous  to  the  community  at  large.  I  shall 
not  enter  into  the  minutiee  of  this  system,  but  I  conceive, 
whatever  may  have  been  the  intention  of  its  framers,  that  it 
leads  to  a  most  dans^erous  aristocracy.  It  appears  to  me 
that,  instead  of  securing  the  sovereignty  of  the  states,  it  is  cal- 
culated to  melt  them  down  into  one  solid  empire.  If  the  citi- 
zens of  this  state  like  a  consolidated  government,  1  hope  they 
will  have  virtue  enough  to  secure  their  rights.  I  am  sorry 
to  make  use  of  the  expression,  but  it  appears  to  me  to  be  a 
scheme  to  reduce  this  government  to  an  aristocracy.  It 
guaranties  a  republican  form  of  government  to  the  states  ; 
when  all  these  powers  are  in  Congress,  it  will  only  be  a  form. 
It  will  be  past  recovery,  when  Congress  has  the  power  of 
the  purse  and  the  sword.  The  power  of  the  sword  is  in  ex- 
plicit terms  given  to  it.  The  power  of  direct  taxation  gives 
the  purse.  They  may  prohibit  the  trial  by  jury,  which  is  a 
most  sacred  and  valuable  right.  There  is  nothing  contained 
in  this  Constitution  to  bar  them  from  it.  The  federal  courts 
have   also  appellate  cognizance  of  law  and  fact;  the  sole 


^^ause  of  which  is  to  deprive  the  people  of  that  trial,  which  it 
^.s  optional  in  them  to  grant  or  not.     We  find  no  provision 
Against  infringement  on  the  rights  of  conscience.     Ecclesias- 
tical courts  may  be  established,  which  will  be  destructive  to 
our  citizens.     They  may  make  any  establishment  they  think 
proper.     They   have   also   an  exclusive  legislation  in  their 
ten  miles  square,  to  which  may  be  added  their  power  over 
the  militia,  who  may  be  carried  thither  and   kept  there  for 
life.     Should  any  one  grumble  at  their  acts,  he  would   be 
deemed  a  traitor,  and  perhaps  taken  up  and  carried  to  the 
exclusive  legislation,  and  there  tried  without  a  jury.     We 
are  told  there  is  no  cause  to  fear.     When  we  consider  the 
great  powers  of  Congress,  there  is  great  cause  of  alarm. 
They  can   disarm   the   militia.     If  they  were  armed,  they 
would  be  a  resource  against  great  oppressions.     The  laws 
of  a  great  empire  are  difficult  to  be  executed.     If  the  laws 
of  the  Union  were  oppressive,  they  could  not  carry  them  into 
effect,  if  the  people  were  possessed  of  proper  means  of  de- 

It  was  cried  out  that  we  were  in  a  most  desperate  situa- 
tion, and  that  Congress  could  not  discharge  any  of  their 
most  sacred  contracts.  I  believe  it  to  be  the  case.  But 
why  give  more  power  than  is  necessary  ?  The  men  who 
went  to  the  Federal  Convention  went  for  the  express  pur- 
pose of  amending  the  government,  by  giving  it  such  addi- 
tional powers  as  were  necessary.  If  we  should  accede  to 
this  system,  it  may  be  thought  proper,  by  a  few  designing 
persons,  to  destroy  it,  in  a  future  age,  in  the  same  manner 
that  the  old  system  is  laid  aside.  The  Confederation  was 
binding  on  all  the  states.  It  could  not  be  destroyed  but 
with  the  consent  of  all  the  states.  There  was  an  express 
article  to  that  purpose.  The  men  w^ho  were  deputed  to  the 
Convention,  instead  of  amending  the  old,  as  they  were  solely 
empowered  and  directed  to  do,  proposed  a  new  system.  If 
the  best  characters  departed  so  far  from  their  authority,  what 
may  not  be  apprehended  from  others,  who  may  be  agents  in 
the  new  government  ? 

It  is  natural  for  men  to  aspire  to  power  —  it  is  the  nature 
of  mankind  to  be  tyrannical ;  therefore  it  is  necessary  for 
us  to  secure  our  rights  and  liberties  as  far  as  we  can.  But 
it  is  asked  why  we  should  suspect  men  who  are  to  be  chosen 
by  ourselves,  while  it  is  their  interest  to  act  justly,  and  while 


204  DEBATES.  [LBNom 

men  have  self-interest  at  heart.  1  think  the  reasons  which 
I  havt  given  are  sufficient  to  answer  that  question.  We 
ought  to  consider  the  depravity  of  human  nature,  the  pre- 
dominant thirst  of  power  which  is  in  the  breast  of  every 
one,  tlie  temptations  our  rulers  may  have,  and  the  unlimited 
confidence  phiced  in  them  by  this  system.  These  are  the 
foundation  of  my  fears.  They  would  be  so  long  in  the  gen- 
eral government  that  they  would  forget  the  grievances  of 
the  people  of  the  states. 

But  it  is  said  we  shall  be  ruined  if  separated  from  the 
other  states,  which  will  be  the  case  if  we  do  not  adopt.  If 
so,  I  would  put  less  confidence  in  those  states.  The  states 
are  all  bound  together  by  the  Confederation,  and  the  rest 
cannot  break  from  us  without  violating  the  most  solemn 
compact.     If  they  break  that,  they  will  this. 

But  it  is  urged  that  we  ought  to  adopt,  because  so  many 
other  states  have.  In  those  states  which  have  patronized 
and  ratified  it,  many  great  men  have  opposed  it.  The  mo- 
tives of  those  states  I  know  not.  It  is  the  goodness  of  the 
Constitution  we  are  to  examine.  We  are  to  exercise  our 
own  judgments,  and  act  independently.  And  as  I  conceive 
we  are  not  out  of  the  Union,  I  hope  this  Constitution  will 
not  be  adopted  till  amendments  are  made.  Amendments 
are  wished  for  by  the  other  states.  It  was  urged  here  that  the 
President  should  have  power  to  grant  reprieves  and  pardons. 
This  power  is  necessary  with  proper  restrictions.  But  the 
President  may  be  at  the  head  of  a  combination  against  the 
rights  of  the  people,  and  may  reprieve  or  pardon  the  whole. 
It  is  answered  to  this,  that  he  cannot  pardon  in  cases  of 
impeachment.  What  is  the  punishment  in  such  cases  ? 
Only  removal  from  office  and  future  disqualification.  It 
does  not  touch  life  or  property.  He  has  power  to  do  away 
punishment  in  every  other  case.  It  is  too  unlimited,  in  my 
opinion.  It  may  be  exercised  to  the  public  good,  but  may 
also  be  perverted  to  a  different  purpose.  Should  we  get 
those  who  will  attend  to  our  interest,  we  should  be  safe 
under  any  Constitution,  or  without  any.  If  we  send  men 
of  a  different  dis|>ositioh,  we  shc^ll  be  in  danger.  Let  us 
give  them  only  such  powers  as  are  necessary  for  the  good  of 
the  community. 

The  President  has  other  great  powers.  He  has  the  nom« 
ination  of  all  officers,  and  a  qualified  negative  on  the  laws 

/-.ifMoia.]         •  NORTH  CAROUNA.  20/T 

e  may  delay  the  wheels  of  government.  He  may  drive 
he  Senate  to  concur  with  his  proposal.  He  has  other  ex- 
ensive  powers.  There  is  no  assurance  of  the  liberty  of  the 
ess.  They  may  make  it  treason  to  write  against  the  most 
rbitrary  proceedings.  They  have  power  to  control  our  elec- 
tions as  much  as  they  please.  It  may  be  very  oppressive  on 
^his  state,  and  all  the  Southern  States. 

Much  has  been  said  of  taxation,  and  the  inequality  of  it 
on  the  states.     But  nothing  has  been  said  of  the  mode  of 
furnishing  men.    In  what  proportion  are  the  states  to  furnish 
men  ?     Is  it  in  proportion  to  the  whites  and  blacks  ?    I  pre- 
sume it  is.     This  stdte  has  one  hundred  thousand  blacks. 
By  this  Constitution,  fifty  negroes  are  equal  to  thirty  whites. 
This  state,  therefore,  besides  the  proportion  she  must  raise 
for  her  white  people,  must  furnish  an  additional  number  for 
her  blacks,  in  proportion  as  thirty  is  to  fifty.     Suppose  there 
be  a  state  to  the  northward  that  has  sixty  thousand  persons ; 
this  state  must  furnish  as  many  men  for  the  blacks  as  that 
whole  state,  exclusive  of  those  she  must   furnish   for  hei 
whites.    Sl:ives,  instead  of  strengthening,  weaken  the  state , 
the  regulation,  therefore,  will  greatly  injure  it,  and  the  other 
Southern  States.     There  is  another  clause  which   I  do  not, 
perhaps,  understand.     The  power  of  taxation  seems  to  me 
not  to  extend  to  the  lands  of   the  people  of  the   United 
States ;  for  the  rule  of  taxation  is  the  number  of  the  whites 
and  three  fifths  of  the  blacks.     Should   it  be  the  case  that 
they  have  no   power  of  taxing  this  object,  must  not  direct 
taxation  be  hard  upon  the  greater  part  of  this  state  ?     I  am 
not  confident  that  it  is  so,  but  it  appears  to  me  that  they 
Cannot  lay  taxes  on  this  object.     This  will  oppress  the  poor 
people  who  have  large  families  of  whites,  and  no  slaves  to 
Assist  them  in  cultivating  the  soil,  although  the  taxes  are  to 
be  laid  in  proportion   to  three  fifths  of  the  negroes,  and  all 
the  whites.     Another  disadvantage  to  this  state  will  arise 
from  it.     This  state  has  made  a  contract  with  its  citizens. 
The  public  securities  and  certificates  I  allude  to.     These 
may  be  negotiated  to  men  who  live  in  other  states.     Should 
that  be  the  case,  these  gentlemen  will  have  demands  against 
this  state  on  that  account.     The  Constitution  points  out  the 
mode  of  recovery ;  it  must  be  in  the  federal  court  only,  be- 
cause controversies   between  a   state    and  the  citizens  of 
another  state   are  cognizable  only  in    the   federal   couns. 

•  18 

2106  DEBATES.  [Spaight. 

They  cannot  be  paid  but  in  gold  and  silver.  Actual  spe- 
cie will  be  recovered  in  that  court.  This  would  be  an  in- 
tolerable grievance  without  remedy. 

I  wish  not  to  be  so  understood  as  to  be  so  averse  to  this 
system,  as  that  I  should  object  to  all  parts  of  it,  or  attempt 
to  reflect  on  the  reputation  of  those  gentlemen  who  formed 
it ;  though  it  appears  to  me  that  I  would  not  have  agreed  to 
any  proposal  but  the  amendment  of  the  Confederation.  If 
there  were  any  security  for  the  liberty  of  the  people,  I  would, 
for  my  own  part,  agree  to  it.  But  in  this  case,  as  millions 
yet  unborn  are  concerned,  and  deeply  interested  in  our  de- 
cision, I  would  have  the  most  positive  and  pointed  security. 
I  shall  therefore  hope  that,  before  this  house  will  proceed  to 
adopt  this  Constitution,  they  will  propose  such  amendments 
to  it  as  will  make  it  complete ;  and  when  amendments  are 
adopted,  perhaps  I  will  be  as  ready  to  accede  to  it  as  any 
man.  One  thing  will  make  it  aristocratical.  Its  powers  are 
very  indefinite.  There  was  a  very  necessary  clause  in  the 
Confederation,  which  is  omitted  in  this  system.  That  was 
a  clause  declaring  that  every  power,  &c.,  not  given  to  Con- 
gress, was  reserved  to  the  states.  The  omission  of  this 
clause  makes  the  power  so  much  greater.  Men  will  natu- 
rally put  the  fullest  construction  on  the  power  given  them. 
Therefore  lay  all  restraint  on  them,  and  form  a  plan  to  be 
understood  by  every  gentleman  of  this  committee,  and  every 
individual  of  the  communitv. 

Mr.  SPAIGHT.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  am  one  of  those  who 
formed  this  Constitution.  The  gentleman  says,  we  exceeded 
our  powers.  I  deny  the  charge.  We  were  sent  with  a  full 
power  to  amend  the  existing  system.  This  involved  every 
power  to  make  every  alteration  necessary  to  meliorate  and 
render  it  perfect.  It  cannot  be  said  that  we  arrogated 
powers  altogether  inconsistent  with  the  object  of  our  dele- 
gation. There  is  a  clause  which  expressly  provides  for 
future  amendments,  and  it  is  still  in  your  power.  What  the 
Convention  has  done  is  a  mere  proposal.  It  was  found  im- 
possible to  improve  the  old  system  without  changing  its  very 
form  ;  for  by  that  system  the  three  great  branches  of  govern- 
ment are  blended  together.  All  will  agree  that  the  conces- 
sion of  a  power  to  a  government  so  constructed  is  danger- 
ous. The  proposing  a  new  system,  to  be  established  by  the 
assent  and  ratification  of  nine  states,  arose  from  the  neces- 


^iiy  of  the  case.  It  was  thought  extremely  hard  that  one 
state,  or  even  three  or  four  states,  should  be  able  to  prevent 
necessary  alterations.  The  very  refractory  conduct  of  Rhode 
Island,  in  uniformly  opposing  every  wise  and  judicious 
measure,  taught  us  how  impolitic  it  would  be  to  put  thi^ 
general  welfare  in  the  power  of  a  few  members  of  the  Union. 
It  was,  therefore,  thought  by  the  Convention,  that,  if  so 
great  a  majority  as  nine  states  should  adopt  it,  it  would  be 
right  to  establish  it.  It  was  recommended  by  Congress  to 
the  state  legislatures  to  refer  it  to  the  people  of  their  differ- 
ent states.  Our  Assembly  has  confirmed  what  they  have 
done,  by  proposing  it  to  the  consideration  of  the  people.  It 
was  there,  and  not  here,  that  the  objection  should  have  been 
made.  This  Convention  is  therefore  to  consider  the  Consti- 
tution, and  whether  it  be  proper  for  the  government  of  the 
people  of  America ;  and  had  it  been  proposed  by  any  one 
individual,  under  these  circumstances,  it  would  be  right  to 
consider  whether  it  be  good  or  bad.  The  gentleman  has  in- 
sinuated that  this  Constitution,  instead  of  securing  our  liber- 
ties, is  a  scheme  to  enslave  us.  He  has  produced  no  proof, 
but  rests  it  on  his  bare  assertion — an  assertion  which  I  am 
astonished  to  hear,  after  the  ability  with  which  every  objec- 
tion has  been  fully  and  clearly  refuted  in  the  course  of  our 
debates.  I  am,  for  my  part,  conscious  of  having  had  noth- 
ing in  view  but  the  liberty  and  happiness  of  my  country  ;  and 
1  believe  every  member  of  that  Convention  was  actuated  by 
motives  equally  sincere  and  patriotic. 

He  says  that  it  will  tend  to  aristocracy.  Where  is  the 
aristocratical  part  of  it  ?  It  is  ideal.  I  always  thought  that 
an  aristocracy  was  that  government  where  the  few  governed 
the  many,  or  where  the  rulers  were  hereditary..  This  is  a 
very  different  government  from  that.  I  never  read  of  such 
an  aristocracy.  The  first  branch  are  representatives  chosen 
freely  by  the  people  at  large.  This  must  be  allowed  upon 
all  hands  to  be  democratical.  The  next  is  the  Senate,  chosen 
by  the  people,  in  a  secondary  manner,  through  the  medium 
of  their  delegates  in  the  legislature.  This  cannot  be  aristo- 
cratical. They  are  chosen  for  six  years,  but  one  third  of 
them  go  out  every  second  year,  and  are  responsible  to  the 
state  legislatures.  The  President  is  elected  for  four  years. 
Bv  whom  ?  By  those  who  are  elected  in  such  manntT  as 
the  state  legislatures  think  proper.     I  hope  the  gentleman 

?08  REBATES.  [Spaight. 

Will  not  pretend  to  call  this  an  aristocratical  feature.  The 
privilege  of  representation  is  secured  in  the  most  |X)sitive  and 
unequivocal  terms,  and  cannot  be  evaded.  The  gentleman 
has  again  brought  on  the  trial  by  jury.  The  Federal  Con- 
vention, sir,  had  no  wish  to  destroy  the  trial  by  jury.  It 
was  three  or  four  days  before  them.  There  were  a  variety 
of  objections  to  any  one  mode.  It  was  thought  impossible 
to  fall  upon  any  one  mode  but  what  would  produce  some  in- 
conveniences. I  cannot  now  recollect  all  the  reasons  given. 
Most  of  them  have  been  amply  detailed  by  other  gentlemen 
here.  I  should  suppose  that,  if  the  representatives  of  twelve 
states,  with  many  able  lawyers  among  them,  could  not  form 
any  unexceptionable  mode,  this  Convention  could  hardly  be 
able  to  do  it.  As  to  the  subject  of  religion,  I  thought  what 
had  been  said  would  fully  satisfy  that  gentleman  and  every 
other.  No  power  is  given  to  the  general  government  to  in- 
terfere with  it  at  all.  Any  act  of  Congress  on  this  subject 
would  be  a  usurpation. 

No  sect  is  preferred  to  another.  Every  man  has  a  right 
to  worship  the  Supreme  Being  in  the  manner  he  thinks 
proper.  No  test  is  required.  AH  men  of  equal  capacity  and 
integrity,  are  equally  eligible  to  offices.  Temporal  violence 
might  make  mankind  wicked,  but  never  religious.  A  test 
would  enable  the  prevailing  sect  to  persecute  the  rest.  I  do 
not  suppose  an  infidel,  or  any  such  person,  will  ever  be 
chosen  to  any  office,  unless  the  people  themselves  be  of  the 
same  opinion.  He  says  that  Congress  may  establish  eccle- 
siastical courts.  I  do  not  know  what  part  of  the  Constitu- 
tion warrants  that  assertion.  It  is  impossible.  No  such 
power  is  given  them.  The  gentleman  advises  such  amend- 
ments as  would  satisfy  him,  and  proposes  a  mode  of  amend- 
ing before  ratifying.  If  we  do  not  adopt  first,  we  are  no 
more  a  part  of  the  Union  than  any  foreign  power.  It  will 
be  also  throwing  away  the  influence  of  our  state  to  propose 
amendments  as  the  condition  of  our  ratification.  If  we 
adopt  first,  our  representatives  will  have  a  proportionable 
weight  in  bringing  al)out  amendments,  which  will  not  be  the 
case  if  we  do  not  adopt.  It  is  adopted  by  ten  states  already. 
The  question,  then,  is,  not  whether  the  Constitution  be  good, 
but  whether  we  will  or  will  not  confederate  with  the  other 
states.  The  gentleman  supposes  that  the  liberty  of  the  press 
is  not  secured.      The  Constitution  does  not  take  it  away. 

SPAieiiT.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  209 

It  says  noth'mg  of  it,  and  can  do  nothing  to  injure  it.  Bux 
ii  is  secured  by  the  constitution  of  every  state  in  the  Union 
in  the  most  ample  manner. 

He  objects  to  giving  the  government  exclusive  legislation 
in  a  district  not  exceeding  ten  miles  square,  although  the 
previous  consent  and  cession  of  the  state  within  which  it 
may  be,  is  required.    Is  it  to  be  supposed  that  the  represent- 
atives of  the  people  will  make  regulations  therein  dangerous 
to  liberty  ?     Is  there  the  least  color  or  pretext  for  saying:  that 
the  militia  will  be  carried  and  kept  there  for  life  ?     Where 
is  there  any  power  to  do  this?     The  power  of  calling  forth 
the  militia  is  given  for  the  common  defence ;  and  can  we 
suppose  that  our  own  representatives,  chosen  for  so  short  a 
period,  will  dare  to  pervert  a  power,  given  for  the  general 
protection,  to  an  absolute  oppression  ?     But  the  gentleman 
has  gone  farther,  and  says,  that  any  man  who  will  complain 
of  their  oppressions,  or  write  against  their  usurpation,  may 
he  deemed  a  traitor,  and  tried  as  such  in  the  ten  miles  square, 
without  a  jury.      What  an  astonishing  misrepresentation ! 
Why  did  not  the  gentleman  look  at  the  Constitution,  and 
see  their  powers  ?     Treason  is  there  defined.     It  says,  ex- 
pressly, that  treason  against  the  United  States  shall  consist 
only  in  levying  war  against  them,  or  in  adhering  to  their 
enemies,  giving  them  aid  and  comfort.     Complaining,  there- 
fore, or  writing,  cannot  be  treason.     [Here  Mr.Lenoir  rose, 
and  said  he  meant  misprision  of  treason.]     The  same  rea- 
sons hold  against  that  too.     The  liberty  of  the  press  being 
secured,  creates  an  additional  security.      Persons  accused 
cannot  be  tried  without  a  jury ;  for  the  same  article  provides 
that  **the  trial  of  all  crimes  shall  be  by  jury."     They  cannot 
be  carried  to  the  ten  miles  square  ;  for  the  same  clause  adds, 
*'  and  such  trial  shall  be  held  in  the  state  where  the  said 
crimes  shall  have  been  committed."     He  has  made  another 
objection,  that  land  might  not  be  taxed,  and  the  other  taxes 
might  fall  heavily  on  the   j>oor  people.      Congress  has  a 
power  to  lay  taxes,  and  no  article  is  exempted  or  excluded. 
The  proportion  of  each  state  may  be  raised  in  the  most  con- 
venient manner.     The  census  or  enumeration   provided  is 
meant  for  the  salvation  and  benefit  of  the  Southern  States.. 
It  was  mentioned  that  land  ought  to  be  the  only  object  of 
taxation.     As  an  acre  of  land  in  the  Northern  States  is  worth 
many  acres  in  the  Southern  States,  this  would  have  greatly 
VOL.  IV.  27 

210  DEBATES.  [M'DowALi. 

oppressed  the  latter.  It  was  then  judged  that  the  number 
of  people,  as  therein  provided,  was  the  best  criterion  for  fix- 
ing the  proportion  of  each  state,  and  that  proportion  in  each 
state  to  be  raised  in  the  most  easy  manner  for  the  people. 
But  he  has  started  another  objection,  which  I  never  heard 
before  —  that  Congress  may  call  for  men  in  proportion  to  the 
number  of  negroes.  The  article  with  respect  to  requisitions 
of  men  is  entirely  done  away.  Men  are  to  be  raised  by 
bounty.  Suppose  it  had  not  been  done  away.  The  Eastern 
States  could  not  impose  oh  us  a  man  for  every  black.  It 
was  not  the  case  during  the  war,  nor  ever  could  be.  But  the 
quotas  of  men  are  entirely  done  away. 

Another  objection  which  he  makes  is,  that  the  federal 
courts  will  have  cognizance  of  contracts  between  this  state 
and  citizens  of  another  state;  and  that  public  securities, 
negotiated  by  our  citizens  to  those  of  other  states,  will  be 
recoverable  in  specie  in  those  courts  against  this  state. 
They  cannot  be  negotiated.  What  do  these  certificates  say  ? 
Merely  that  the  person  therein  named  shall,  for  a  particular 
service,  receive  so  much  money.  They  are  not  negotiable. 
The  money  must  be  demanded  for  them  in  the  name  of  those 
therein  mentioned.  No  other  person  has  a  right.  There 
can  be  no  danger,  therefore,  in  this  respect.  The  gentle- 
man has  made  several  other  objections ;  but  they  have  been 
so  fully  answered  and  clearly  refuted  by  several  gentlemen  in 
the  course  of  the  debates,  that  I  shall  pass  them  by  unnoticed. 
I  cannot,  however,  conclude  without  observing  that  I  am 
amazed  he  should  call  the  powers  of  the  general  government 
indefinite.  It  is  the  first  time  I  heard  the  objection.  I  will 
venture  to  say  they  are  better  defined  than  the  powers  of 
any  government  he  ever  heard  of. 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  was  in  hopes 
that  amendments  would  have  been  brought  forward  to  the 
Constitution  before  the  idea  of  adopting  it  had  been  thought 
of  or  proposed.  From  the  best  information,  there  is  a  great 
pro}X)rtion  of  the  people  in  the  adopting  states  averse  to  it  as 
it  stands.  I  collect  my  information  from  respectable  author- 
ity. I  know  the  necessity  of  a  federal  government.  I  there- 
fore wish  this  was  one  in  which  our  liberties  and  privileges 
were  secured ;  for  I  consider  the  Union  as  the  rock  of  our 
political  salvation.  I  am  for  the  strongest  federal  govern- 
ment. A  bill  of  rights  ought  to  have  been  inserted,  to  ascer- 
tain our  most  valuable  and  unalienable  rights. 


The  1st  clause  of  the  4th  section  gives  the  Congress  an 
Unlimited  power  over  elections.  This  matter  was  not  cleared 
Xip  to  my  satisfaction.  They  have  full  power  to  alter  it  from 
one  time  of  the  year  to  another,  so  as  that  it  shall  be  impos- 
sible for  the  people  to  attend.  They  may  fix  the  time  in 
winter,  and  the  place  at  Edenton,  when  the  weather  will  be* 
so  bad  that  the  people  cannot  attend.  The  state  govern- 
ments will  be  mere  boards  of  election.  The  clause  of  elec- 
tions gives  the  Congress  power  over  the  time  and  manner 
of  choosing  the  Senate.  I  wish  to  know  why  reservation 
was  made  of  the  place  of  choosing  senators,  and  not  also 
of  electing  representatives.  It  points  to  the  time  when  the 
states  shall  be  all  consolidated  into  one  empire.  IVial  by 
jury  is  not  secured.  The  objections  against  this  want  of 
security  have  not  been  cleared  up  in  a  satisfactory  manner. 
It  is  neither  secured  in  civil  nor  criminal  cases.  The  federal 
appellate  cognizance  of  law  and  fact  puts  it  in  the  power  of 
the  wealthy  to  recover  unjustly  of  the  poor  man,  who  is  not 
able  to  attend  at  such  extreme  distance,  and  bear  such  enor- 
mous expense  as  it  must  produce.  It  ought  ^o  be  limited  so 
as  to  prevent  such  oppressions. 

I  say  the  trial  by  jury  is  not  sufficiently  secured  in  crim- 
inal cases.  The  very  intention  of  the  trial  by  jury  is,  that 
the  accused  may  be  tried  by  persons  who  come  from  the 
vicinage  or  neighborhood,  who  may  be  acquainted  with  his 
character.  The  substance,  therefore,  of  this  privilege  is 
taken  away. 

By  the  power  of  taxation,  every  article  capable  of  being 
taxed  may  be  so  heavily  taxed  that  the  people  cannot  bear 
the  taxes  necessary  to  be  raised  for  the  support  of  their  state 
governments.  Whatever  law  we  may  make,  may  be  re- 
pealed by  their  laws.  All  these  things,  with  others,  tend  to 
make  us  one  general  empire.  Such  a  government  cannot 
be  well  regulated.  When  we  are  connected  with  the  North- 
ern States,  who  have  a  majority  in  their  favor,  laws  may  l)e 
made  which  will  answer  their  convenience,  but  will  be 
oppressive  to  the  last  degree  upon  the  Southern  States.  They 
differ  in  climate,  soil,  customs,  manners,  &c.  A  large  ma- 
jority of  the  people  of  this  country  are  against  this  Constitu- 
tion, l)ecause  they  think  it  replete  with  dangerous  defects. 
They  ought  to  be  satisfied  with  it  before  it  is  adopted  ;  oth- 
erwise it  cannot  operate  happily.     Without  the  affections  of 

212  DEBATES.  [L4vcA8Tim. 

the  pcfiple,  it  will  not  have  sufficient  energy.  To  enforce 
its  execution,  recourse  must  be  bad  to  arms  and  bloodshed. 
How  much  better  would  it  be  if  the  peo[de  were  satisfied 
with  it !  From  all  these  considerations,  I  now  rise  to  oppose 
its  adoption ;  for  I  never  will  agree  to  a  government  that 
tends  to  the  destruction  of  the  liberty  of  the  people. 

Mr.  WILSON  wished  that  the  Constitution  had  excluded 
Popish  priests  from  offices.  As  there  was  no  test  required, 
and  nothing  to  govern  them  but  honor,  he  said  that  when 
their  interest  clashed  with  their  honor,  the  latter  would  fly 
before  the  former. 

Mr.  LANCASTER.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  is  of  the  utmost 
importance  to  decide  this  great  question  with  candor  and 
deliberation.  Every  part  of  this  Constitution  has  been  elu- 
cidated. It  hath  been  asserted,  by  several  worthy  gentlemen, 
that  it  is  the  most  excellent  Constitution  that  ever  was  formed. 
I  could  wish  to  be  of  that  opinion  if  it  were  so.  The  powers 
vested  therein  were  very  extensive.  I  am  apprehensive  that 
the  power  of  taxation  is  unlimited.  It  expressly  says  that 
Congress  shall  have  the  power  to  lay  taxes,  &c.  It  is  obvi- 
ous to  me  that  the  power  is  unlx>unded,  and  I  am  apprehen* 
sive  that  they  may  lay  taxes  too  heavily  on  our  lands,  in 
order  to  render  them  more  productive.  The  amount  of  the 
taxes  may  be  more  than  our  lands  will  sell  for.  It  is  obvious 
that  the  lands  in  the  Northern  States,  which  gentlemen  sup- 
pose to  be  more  populous  than  this  country,  are  more  valu- 
able and  better  cultivated  than  ours ;  yet  their  lands  will  be 
taxed  no  higher  than  our  lands.  A  rich  man  there,  from 
report,  does  not  possess  so  large  a  body  of  land  as  a  poor 
man  to  the  southward.  If  so,  a  common  poor  man  here 
will  have  much  more  to  pay  for  poor  land,  than  the  rich  man 
there  for  land  of  the  best  quality.  This  power,  being  neces- 
sarily unequal  and  oppressive,  ought  not  to  be  given  up.  I 
shall  endeavor  to  be  as  concise  as  possible.  We  find  that 
the  ratification  of  nine  states  shall  be  sufficient  for  its  estab- 
lishment between  the  states  so  ratifying  the  same.  This,  as 
has  been  already  taken  notice  of,  is  a  violation  of  the  Con- 
federation. We  find  that,  by  that  system,  no  alteration  was 
to  take  place,  except  it  was  ratified  by  every  state  in  the 
Union.  Now,  by  comparing  this  last  article  of  the  Consti- 
tution to  that  part  of  the  Confederation,  we  find  a  most  fla- 
grant violation.     The  Articles  of  Confederation  were  sent 

Xawca§tb«,]  north  CAROLINA.  2 IS 

out  ivith  all  solemnity  on  so  solemn  an  occasion,  and  werb 
to  be  always  binding  on  the  states ;  but,  to  our  astonish- 
ment, we  see  that  nine  states  may  do  away  the  force  of  the 
whole.  I  think,  without  exaggeration,  that  it  will  be  looked 
upon,  by  foreign  nations,  as.  a  serious  and  alarming  change. 

How  do  we  know  that,  if  we  propose  amendments,  they 
shall  be  obtained  after  actual  ratification  P  May  not  these 
amendments  be  proposed  with  equal  propriety,  and  more 
safety,  as  the  condition  of  our  adoption  ?  If  they  violate 
the  13th  article  of  the  Confederation  in  this  manner,  may 
they  not,  with  equal  propriety,  refuse  to  adopt  amendments, 
although  agreed  to  and  wished  for  by  two  thirds  of  the 
states  r  This  violation  of  the  old  system  is  a  precedent  for 
such  proceedings  as  these.  That  would  be  a  violation 
destructive  to  our  felicity.  We  are  now  determining  a 
question  deeply  affecting  the  happiness  of  millions  yet  un- 
born. It  is  the  policy  of  freemen  to  guard  their  privileges. 
Let  us,  then,  as  far  as  we  can,  exclude  the  possibility  of 
tyranny.  The  President  is  chosen  for  four  years  ;  the  sen- 
ators for  six  years.  Where  is  our  remedy  for  the  most 
flagrant  abuses?  It  is  thought  that  North  Carolina  is  to 
have  an  opportunity  of  choosing  one  third  of  their  senatorial 
members,  and  all  their  representatives,  once  in  two  years. 
This  would  be  the  case  as  to  senators,  if  they  should  be  of 
the  first  class ;  but,  at  any  rate,  it  is  to  be  after  six  years. 
But  if  they  deviate  from  their  duty,  they  cannot  be  excluded 
and  changed  the  first  year,  as  the  members  of  Congress  can 
now  by  the  Confederation.  How  can  it  be  said  to  be  safe 
to  trust  so  much  power  in  the  hands  of  such  men,  who  are 
not  responsible  or  amenable  for  misconduct  ? 

As  it  has  been  the  policy  of  every  state  in  the  Union  to 
guard  elections,  we  ought  to  be  more  punctual  in  this  case. 
The  members  of  Congress  now  may  be  recalled.  But  in  this 
Constitution  they  cannot  be  recalled.  The  continuance  of 
the  President  and  Senate  is  too  long.  It  will  be  objected, 
by  some  gentlenfen,  that,  if  they  are  good,  why  not  continue 
them  ?  But  I  would  ask,  How  are  we  to  find  out  whether 
they  be  good  or  bad  ?  The  individuals  who  assented  to  any 
bad  law  are  not  easily  discriminated  from  others.  They 
will,  if  individually  inquired  of,  deny  that  they  gave  it  their 
approbation ;  and  it  is  in  their  power  to  conceal  their  trans- 
actions as  long  as  they  please. 

2}'%  DEBATES.  [Lancastkb. 

Th/*.re  is  also  the  President's  conditional  negative  on  the 
taws.  After  a  bill  is  presented  to  him,  and  he  disapproves 
of  it,  it  is  to  be  sent  back  to  that  house  where  it  originated, 
for  their  consideration.  Let  us  consider  the  effects  of  this 
for  a  few  moments.  Suppose  \J  originates  in  the  Senate, 
and  passes  there  by  a  large  majority ;  suppose  it  passes  in 
the  House  of  Representatives  unanimously;  it  must  be  trans- 
mitted to  the  President.  If  he  objects,  it  is  sent  back  to 
the  Senate ;  if  two  thirds  do  not  agree  to  it  in  the  Senate, 
what  is  the  conseijuence  ?  Does  the  House  of  Representa 
tives  ever  hear  of  it  afterwards  ?  No,  it  drops,  because  it 
must  be  passed  by  two  thirds  of  both  houses ;  and  as  only 
a  majority  of  the  Senate  agreed  to  it,  it  cannot  become  a 
law.  This  is  giving  a  power  to  the  President  to  over- 
rule fifteen  members  of  the  Senate  and  every  member  of  the 
House  of  Representatives.  These  are  my  objections.  I 
look  upon  it  to  be  unsafe  to  drag  each  other  from  the  most 
remote  parts  in  the  state  to  the  Supreme  Federal  Court, 
which  has  appellate  jurisdiction  of  causes  arising  under  the 
Constitution,  and  of  controversies  between  citizensof  different 
stales.  I  grant,  if  it  be  a  contract  between  a  citizen  of 
Virginia  and  a  citizen  of  North  Carolina,  the  suit  must  be 
brought  here ;  but  may  they  not  appeal  to  the  Supreme 
Court,  which  has  cognizance  of  law  and  fact?  They  may 
be  carried  to  Philadelphia.  They  ought  to  have  limited  the 
sum  on  which  appeals  should  lie.  They  may  appeal  on  a 
suit  for  only  ten  pounds.  Such  a  trifling  sum  as  this  would 
be  paid  by  a  man  who  thought  he  did  not  owe  it,  rather 
than  go  such  a  distance.  It  would  be  prudence  in  him  so 
to  do.     This  would  be  very  oppressive. 

I  doubt  my  own  judgment;  experience  has  taught  me  to 
be  diffident ;  but  I  hope  to  be  excused  and  put  right  if  I  be 

The  power  of  raising  armies  is  also  very  exceptionable.  I 
am  not  well  acquainted  with  the  government  of  other  coun- 
tries, but  a  man  of  any  information  knows  that  the  king  of 
Great  Britain  cannot  raise  and  support  armies.  He  may 
call  for  and  raise  men,  but  he  has  no  money  to  support  them. 
But  Congress  is  to  have  power  to  raise  and  support  armies. 
Forty  thousand  men  from  North  Carolina  could  not  be  re- 
fused without  violating  the  Constitution.  I  wish  amend- 
ments  to  these  parts.     I  agree    it  is  not  our    business  to 

Lancaster.!  NORTH   CAROLINA.  215 

inquire  whether  the  continent  be  invaded  or  not.  The 
general  legislature  ought  to  superintend  the  care  of  this 
Treaties  are  to  be  the  supreme  law  of  the  land.  This  has 
been  sufficiently  discussed  :  it  must  be  amended  some  way 
or  other.  If  the  Constitution  be  adopted,  it  ought  to  be 
the  supreme  law  of  the  land,  and  a  perpetual  rule  for 
the  governors  and  governed.  But  if  treaties  are  to  be  the 
supreme  law  of  the  land,  it  may  repeal  the  laws  of  different 
states,  and  render  nugatory  our  bill  of  rights. 

As  to  a   religious  test,  had  the  article  which  excludes  it 
provided  none  but  what  had  been  in  the  states  heretofore, 
I  would  not  have  objected  to  it.     It  would  secure  rehgion. 
Religious  liberty  ought  to  be  provided  for.     I  acquiesce  with 
the  gentleman,  who  spoke,  on  this  point,   my  sentiments 
better  than  I  could  have  done  myself.     For  my  part,  in  re- 
viewing the  qualifications  necessary  for  a  President,  I  did 
not  suppose  that  the  pope  could  occupy  the  President's  chair. 
But  let  us  remember  that  we  form  a  government  for  millions 
not  yet  in  existence.     I  have  not  the  art  of  divination.     In 
the  course  of  four  or  five  hundred  years,  I  do  not  know  how 
it  will  work.     This  is  most  certain,  that  Papists  may  occu- 
py that  chair,  and  Mahometans  may  take  it.     I  see  nothing 
against  it.     There  is  a  disqualification,  I  believe,  in  every 
state  in  the  Union  —  it  ought  to  be  so  in  this  system.     It  is 
said    that  all    power  not    given   is  retained.     I    find   they 
thought  proper  to  insert  negative  clauses  in  the  Constitu- 
tion, restraining  the  general  government  from  the  exercise 
of  certain  powers.     These  were  unnecessary  if  the  doctrine 
be  true,  that  every  thing  not  given  is  retained.     From  the 
insertion  of  these  we  may  conclude  the  doctrine  to  be  falla- 
cious.    Mr.  Lancaster  then  observed,  that  he  would  disap- 
prove of  the  Constitution  as  it  then  stood.     His  own  feel- 
ings, and  his  duty  to  his  constituents,  induced  him  to  do  so 
Some   j)eople,  he  said,  thought  a  delegate  might  act  inde- 
pendently of  the  people.     He  thought  otherwise,  and  that 
every  delegate  was  bound  by  their  instructions,  and  if  he 
did  any  thing  repugnant  to  their   wishes,  he   betrayed  his 
trust.     He  thought  himself  bound  by  the  voice  of  the  peo- 
ple,  whatever  other   gentlemen    might  think.     He    would 
cheerfully  agree  to  adopt,  if  he  thought  it  would  be  of  gen- 
eral utility ;    but  as  he  thought  it  would  have  a  contrary 
effect,  and  as  he   believed  a  great  majority  of  the  peopltj 
were  against  it,  he  would  oppose  its  adoption. 

216  DEDfATES.  [Johnston. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  was  against  ratifying  in  the  man 
ner  proposed.  He  had  attended,  he  said,  with  patience  to 
the  debates  of  the  speakers  on  both  sides  of  the  question. 
One  party  said  the  Constitution  was  all  perfection.  The 
other  party  said  it  wanted  a  great  deal  of  perfection.  For 
bis  part,  he  thought  so.  He  treated  the  dangers  which  were 
held  forth  in  case  of  non-adoption,  as  merely  ideal  and  fan- 
ciful. After  adding  other  remarks,  he  moved  that  the  pre- 
vious question  might  be  put,  with  an  intention,  as  he  said, 
if  that  was  carried,  to  introduce  a  resolution  which  he  had 
in  his  hand,  and  which  he  was  then  willing  to  read  if  gen- 
tlemen thought  proper,  stipulating  for  certain  amendments 
to  be  made  previous  to  the  adoption  by  this  state. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  begged  gentlemen  to  recollect  that' 
the  proposed  amendments  could  not  be  laid  before  the  other 
states  unless  we  adopted  and  became  part  of  the  Union. 

Mr.  TAYLOR  wished  that  the  previous  question  might 
be  put,  as  it  would  save  much  time.  He  feared  the  motion 
first  made  was  a  manoeuvre  or  contrivance  to  impose  a  con- 
stitution on  the  people  which  a  majority  disapproved  of. 

Mr.  IREDELL  wished  the  previous  shoula  be  withdrawn, 
and  that  they  might  debate  the  first  question.  The  great 
importance  of  the  subject,  and  the  respectability  of  the  gen- 
tleman who  made  the  motion,  claimed  more  deference  and 
attention  than  to  decide  it  in  the  very  moment  it  was  in- 
troduced, by  getting  rid  of  it  by  the  previous  question.  A 
decision  was  now  presented  in  a  new  form  by  a  gentleman 
of  great  influence  in  the  house,  and  gentlemen  ought  to 
have  time  to  consider  before  they  voted  precipitately  upon  it 

A  desultory  conversation  now  arose.  Mr.  J.  GALLO- 
WAY wished  the  question  to  be  postponed  till  to-morrow 

Mr.  J.  M'DOWALL  was  for  immediately  putting  the 
question.  Several  gentlemen  expatiated  on  the  evident  ne- 
cessity of  amendments. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  declared  that  he  disdained  all  ma- 
noeuvres and  contrivance  ;  that  an  intention  of  imposing  an 
improper  system  on  the  people,  contrary  to  their  wishes,  was 
unworthy  of  any  man.  He  wished  the  motion  to  be  fairly 
and  fully  argued  and  investigated.  He  observed  that  the 
very  motion  before  them  proposed  amendments  to  be  made : 
that  they  were  proposed  as  they  had  been  in  other  states 


^e  wished,  therefore,  that  the  motion  for  the  previous  ques- 
tion should  be  withdrawn. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  could  not  withdraw  his  motion. 
Gentlemen's  arguments,  he  said,  had  been  listened  to  at- 
tentively, but  he  believed  no  person  had  changed  his  opin- 
ion. It  was  unnecessary,  then,  to  argue  it  again.  His 
motion  was  not  conclusive.  He  only  wished  to  know  what 
ground  they  stood  on — whether  they  should  ratify  it  un- 
conditionally or  not. 

Mr.  SPENCER  wished  to  hear  the  arguments  and  rea- 
sons for  and  against  the  motion.  Although  he  was  con- 
vinced the  house  wanted  amendments,  and  that  all  had 
nearly  determined  the  question  in  their  own  minds,  he  was 
for  hearing  the  question  argued,  and  had  no  objection  to  the 
postponement  of  it  till  to-morrow. 

Mr.  IREDELL  urged  the  great  importance  of  considera- 
tion ;  that  the  consequence  of  the  previous  question,  if  car- 
ried, would  be  an  exclusion  of  this  state  out  of  the  Union. 
He  contended  that  the  house  had  no  right  to  make  a  condi- 
tional ratification  ;  and,  if  excluded  from  the  Union,  they 
could  not  be  assured  of  an  easy  admission  at  a  future  day, 
though  the  impossibility  of  existin^!:  out  of  the  Union  must  be 
obvious  to  every  thinking  man.  The  gentleman  from  Hali- 
fax had  said  that  his  motion  would  not  be  conclusive.  For 
his  part,  he  was  certain  it  would  be  tantamount  to  immediate 
decision.  He  tmsted  gentlemen  would  consider  the  pro- 
priety of  debating  the  first  motion  at  large. 

Mr.  PERSON  observed,  that  the  previous  question  would 
produce  no  inconvenience.  The  other  party,  he  said,  had 
all  the  debating  to  themselves,  and  would  probably  have  it 
again,  if  they  insisted  on  further  argument.  He  saw  no  pro- 
priety in  putting  it  off  till  to-morrow,  as  it  was  not  customary 
ibr  a  committee  to  adjourn  with  two  questions  before  them. 

Mr.  SHEPHERD  declared  that,  though  he  had  made  up 
his  mind,  and  believed  other  gentlemen  had  done  so,  yet  he 
had  no  objection  to  giving  gentlemen  an  opportunity  of  dis- 
playing their  abilities,  and  convincing  the  rest  of  their  error 
if  they  could.     He  was  for  putting  it  off  till  to-morrow. 

Mr.  DAVIE  took  notice  that  the  gentleman  from  Gran 
ville  had  frequently  u^ed  ungenerous  insinuations,  and  had 
taken  much  pains  out  of  doors  to  irritate  the  minds  of  his 
countrymen  against  the  Constitution.     He  called  upon  gen- 
VOL  IV.  28  19 

'2 1 8  DEBATES.  [Iredeli. 

ileraen  to  act  openly  and  above.board,  adding  that  a  contrary 
corduct,  on  this  occasion,  was  extremely  despicable.  He 
came  thither,  he  said,  for  the  common  cause  of  his  country, 
and  he  knew  no  party,  but  wished  the  business  to  be  con- 
ducted with  candor  and  moderation.  The  previous  question 
he  thought  irregular,  and  that  it  ought  not  to  be  put  till  the 
other  question  was  called  for  ;  that  it  was  evidently  in- 
tended to  preclude  all  further  debate,  and  to  precipitate  the 
committee  upon  the  resolution  which  it  had  been  suggested 
was  immediately  to  follow,  which  they  were  not  then  ready 
to  enter  upon  ;  that  he  had  not  fully  considered  the  conse- 
quences of  a  conditional  ratification,  but  at  present  they  ap- 
peared to  him  alarmingly  dangerous,  and  perhaps  equal  to 
those  of  an  absolute  rejection. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  observed,  that  he  had  not  intended 
to  take  the  house  by  surprise ;  that,  though  he  had  his  mo- 
tion ready,  and  had  heard  of  the  motion  which  was  intended 
for  ratification,  he  waited  till  that  motion  should  be  made, 
and  had  afterwards  waited  for  some  time,  in  expectation  that 
:he  gentleman  from  Halifax,  and  the  gentleman  from  Eden- 
ton,  would  both  speak  to  it.  He  had  no  objection  to  ad- 
journing, but  his  motion  would  be  still  before  the  house. 

Here  there  was  a  great  cry  for  the  question. 

Mr.  IREDELL.  [The  cry  for  the  question  still  con 
tinuiug.J  Mr.  Chairman,  I  desire  to  be  heard,  notwith 
standing  the  cry  of  "The  question!  the  question!"  Gen 
tiemen  have  no  right  to  prevent  any  member  from  speaking 
to  it,  if  he  thinks  fit.  [The  house  subsided  into  order.]  Un- 
important as  1  may  be  myself,  my  constituents  are  as  respect- 
able as  those  of  any  member  in  the  house.  It  has,  indeed, 
sir,  been  my  misfortune  to  be  under  the  necessity  of  trou- 
bling the  house  much  oftener  than  I  wished,  owing  to  a  cir- 
cumstance which  1  have  greatly  regretted  —  that  so  few  gen- 
tlemen take  a  share  in  our  debates,  though  many  are  capable 
of  doing  so  with  propriety.  I  should  have  spoken  to  the 
question  at  large  before,  if  I  had  not  ftilly  depended  on  some 
other  gentleman  doing  it;  and  therefore  1  did  not  prepare 
myself  by  taking  notes  of  what  was  said.  However,  I  beg 
leave  now  to  make  a  few  observations.  I  think  this  Consti- 
tution safe.  I  have  not  heard  a  single  objection  which,  in 
my  opinion,  showed  that  it  was  dangerous.  Some  particu- 
lar parts  have  been  objected  to,  and  amendments  pointed  out. 


Though  I  think  it  perfectly  safe,  yet,  with  re.spect  to  aiiv 
ameudments  which  do  not  destroy  the  substance  of  the  Con- 
stitution, but  will  tend  to  give  greater  satisfaction,  I  should 
approve  of  them,  because  I  should  prefer  that  system  whicli 
would  most  tend  to  conciliate  all  parties.  On  these  princi 
pies,  I  am  of  opinion  that  some  amendments  should  i)e 

The  general  ground  of  the  objections  seems  to  be,  that  the 
power  proposed  to  the  general  government  may  be  abused 
If  we  give  no  power  but  such  as  may  not  be  abused,  we 
shall  give  none ;  for  all  delegated  powers  may  be  abused. 
There  are  two  extremes  equally  dangerous  to  liberty.  These 
are  tyranny  and  anarchy.  The  medium  between  these  two 
is  the  true  government  to  protect  the  people.  In  my  opinion, 
this  Constitution  is  well  calculated  to  guard  against  both 
these  extremes.  The  possibility  of  general  abuses  ought  not 
to  be  urged,  but  particular  ones  pointed  out.  A  gentleman 
who  spoke  some  time  ago  (Mr.  Lenoir)  observed,  that  the 
government  might  make  it  treason  to  write  against  the  most 
arbitrary  proceedings.  He  corrected  himself  afterwards,  by 
saying  he  meant  misprision  of  treason.  But  in  the  correction 
he  committed  as  great  a  mistake  as  he  did  at  first.  Where 
is  the  power  given  to  them  to  do  this  ?  They  have  power 
to  define  and  punish  piracies  and  felonies  committed  on  the 
high  seas,  and  offences  against  the  law  of  nations.  They 
have  no  power  to  define  any  other  crime  whatever.  This 
will  show  how  apt  gentlemen  are  to  commit  mistakes.  I  am 
convinced,  on  the  part  of  the  worthy  member,  it  was  not  de- 
signed, but  arose  merely  from  inattention. 

Mr.  LENOIR  arose,  and  declared,  that  he  meant  that 
those  punishments  might  be  inflicted  by  them  within  the 
ten  miles  square,  where  they  would  have  exclusive  powers 
of  legislation. 

Mr.  IREDELL  continued :  They  are  to  have  exclusive 
power  of  legislation,  —  but  how  ?  Wherever  they  may 
have  this  district,  they  must  possess  it  from  the  authority  of 
the  state  within  which  it  lies ;  and  that  state  may  stipulate 
the  conditions  of  the  cession.  Will  not  such  state  take  care 
of  the  liberties  of  its  own  people  ?  What  would  be  the 
consequence  if  the  seat  of  the  government  of  the  United 
States,  with  all  the  archives  of  America,  was  in  the  power 
of  any  one  particular  state  ?     Would  not  this  be  most  un- 

220  DEBATES  [Iredbll 

safe  and  humiliating  ?  Do  we  not  all  remember  that,  in  the 
year  1783,  a  band  of  soldiers  went  and  insulted  Congress  ? 
The  sovereignty  of  the  United  States  was  treated  with  in- 
dignity. They  applied  for  protection  to  the  state  they  re- 
sided in,  but  could  obtain  none.  It  is  to  be  hoped  such  a 
disgraceful  scene  will  never  happen  again ;  but  that,  for  the 
future,  the  national  government  will  be  able  to  protect 
itself.  The  powers  of  the  government  are  particularly 
enumerated  and  defined :  they  can  claim  no  others  but  such 
as  are  so  enumerated.  In  my  opinion,  they  are  excluded  as 
much  from  the  exercise  of  any  other  authority  as  they  could 
be  by  the  strongest  negative  clause  that  could  be  framed. 
A  gentleman  has  asked.  What  would  be  the  consequence  if 
they  had  the  power  of  the  purse  and  sword?  I  ask.  In 
what  government  under  heaven  are  these  not  given  up  to 
some  authority  or  other  ?  There  is  a  necessity  of  giving 
both  the  purse  and  the  sword  to  every  government,  or  else  it 
cannot  protect  the  people. 

But  have  we  not  sufficient  security  that  those  powers 
shall  not  he  abused  ?  The  immediate  power  of  the  purse  is 
in  the  immediate  representatives  of  the  people,  chosen  every 
two  years,  who  can  lay  no  tax  on  their  constituents  but  what 
they  are  subject  to  at  the  same  time  themselves.  The 
power  of  taxation  must  be  vested  somewhere.  Do  the  com- 
mittee wish  it  to  be  as  it  has  been  ?  Then  they  must  suffer 
the  evils  which  they  have  done.  Requisitions  will  be  of  no 
avail.  No  money  will  be  collected  but  by  means  of  military 
force.  Under  the  new  government,  taxes  will  probably  be 
much  lighter  than  they  can  be  under  our  present  one.  The 
impost  will  afford  vast  advantages,  and  greatly  relieve  the 
people  from  direct  taxation.  In  time  of  peace,  it  is  sup- 
posed by  many,  the  imposts  may  be  alone  sufficient;  but  in 
the  time  of  war,  it  cannot  be  ex[)ected  they  will.  Our  ex- 
penses would  be  much  greater,  and  our  ports  might  be 
blocked  up  by  the  enemy's  fleet.  Think,  then,  of  the  ad- 
vantiig;e  of  a  national  government  possessed  of  energy  and 
credit.  Could  government  borrow  money  to  any  advantage 
without  the  power  of  taxation  ?  If  they  could  secure  funds, 
and  wanted  immediately,  for  instance,  £100,000,  they 
might  borrow  this  sum,  and  immediately  raise  only  money  to 
pay  the  mterest  of  it.  If  they  could  not,  the  £100,000 
must  be  instantly  raised,  however  d  stressing  to  the  people, 


or  our  country  perhaps  overrun  by  the  enemy.  Do  not  gei^- 
tlemen  see  an  immense  difference  between  the  two  case?  ^ 
It  is  said  that  there  ought  to  be  jealousy  in  mankind.  } 
admit  it  as  far  as  is  consistent  with  prudence ;  but  unlimitt  J 
jealousy  is  very  pernicious. 

We  must  be  contented  if  powers  be  as  well  guarded  « i 
the  nature  of  them  will    permit.     In  regard    to  amendin  ^ 
before  or  after  the  adoption,  the  difference  is  very  great.     \ 
beg  leave  to  state  my  idea  of  that  difference.     I  mentione  ^ 
one  day  before,  the  adoption  by  ten  states.     When  I  did  s  •, 
it  was  not  to  influence  any  person  with  respect  to  the  meri  $ 
o{  the  Constitution,  but  as  a  reason  for  coohiess  and  deli»  • 
eration.     In  my  opinion,  when  so  great  a  majority  of  tl  e 
American  people  have  adopted  it,  it  is  a  strong  evidence  v^ 
its  favor;  for  it  is  not  probable  that  ten  states  would  ha*^e 
agreed  to  a  bad  constitution.     If  we  do  not  adopt,  we  9  e 
no  longer  in  the  Union  with  the  other  states.     We  ought  o 
oonsider  seriously  before  we  determine  our  connection  w  h 
t-hem.     The  safety  and  happiness  of  this  state  depend  up  ax 
it.     Without  that  union,  what  would  have  been  our  condit>  m 
»iow  ?     A  striking  instance  will  point  out  this  very  clear  y. 
-At  the  beginning  of  the  late  war  with  Great  Britain,  the  F  ur- 
liament  thought  proper  to  stop  all  commercial  intercou  se 
^%vith  the  American  provinces.     They  passed  a  general  prohib- 
itory act,  from  which  New  York  and  North  Carolina  were  at 
Crst  excepted.     Why  were  they  excepted  ?     They  had  b<«n 
^LS  active  in  opposition  as  the  other  states  ;  but  this  was  an 
expedient  to  divide  the  Northern  from  the  Middle  States,  and 
to  break  the  heart  of  the  Southern.     Had  New  York  and 
^orth  Carolina  been  weak  enough  to  fall  into  this  snare   we 
)robably  should  not  now  have  been  an  independent  people. 
Mr.  Person  called  to  order,  and  intimated   that  the  gen- 
tleman meant  to  reflect  on  the  opposers  of  the  Constitution, 
as  if  they  were  friendly  to  the  British  interest.     Mr.  Ire- 
dell   warmly  resented    the    interruption,  declaring  he  was 
perfectly  in  order,  that  it  was  disorderly  to  interrupt  him ; 
and,  in   respect  to  Mr.  Person's  insinuation  as   to  his  in- 
tention, he  declared,  in  the   most  solemn  manner,  he  had 
no  such,  being  well  assured  the  opposers  of  the  Constitution 
were  equally  friendly  to  the  independence  of  America  as  its 
supporters.     He  then  proceeded  :] 
I  say,  they  endeavored  to  divide  us.     North  Carolina  and 

222  DEBATES.  [Iredeix. 


New  York  had  too  much  sense  to  be  taken  in  by  their  arti- 
fices. Union  enabled  us  then  to  defeat  their  endeavors: 
union  will  enable  us  to  defeat  all  the  machinations  of  our 
enemies  hereafter.  The  friends  of  their  country  must  lament 
our  present  unhappy  divisions.  Most  free  countries  have  lost 
their  liberties  by  means  of  dissensions  among  themselves. 
They  united  in  war  and  danger.  When  peace  and  apparent 
security  came,  they  split  into  factions  and  parties,  and  thereby 
became  a  prey  to  foreign  invaders.  This  shows  the  neces- 
sity of  union.  In  urging  the  danger  of  disunion  so  strongly, 
I  beg  leave  again  to  say,  that  I  mean  not  to  reflect  on  any 
gentleman  whatsoever,  as  if  his  wishes  were  directed  to  so 
wicked  a  purpose.  I  am  sure  such  an  insinuation  as  the  gen- 
tleman from  Granville  supposed  I  intended,  would  be  unjust, 
as  I  know  some  of  the  warmest  opposers  of  Great  Britain 
are  now  among  the  warmest  opponents  of  the  proposed  Con- 
stitution. Such  a  suggestion  never  entered  my  head  ;  and  1 
can  say  with  truth  that,  warmly  as  I  am  attached  to  this 
Constitution,  and  though  I  am  convinced  that  the  salvation 
of  our  country  depends  upon  the  adoption  of  it,  I  would  not 
procure  its  succ(*ss  by  one  unworthy  action  or  one  ungen- 
erous word.  A  gentleman  has  said  that  we  ought  to  deter 
mine  in  the  same  manner  as  if  no  state  had  adopted  the 
Constitution.  The  general  principle  is  right ;  but  we  ought 
to  consider  our  peculiar  situation.  We  cannot  exist  by  our- 
selves. If  we  imitate  the  examples  of  some  respectable 
states  that  have  proposed  amendments  subsequent  to  their 
ratification,  we  shall  add  our  weight  to  have  these  amend- 
ments carried,  as  our  representatives  will  be  in  Congress  to 
enforce  them.  Gentlemen  entertain  a  jealousy  of  the  East- 
ern States.  To  withdraw  ourselves  from  the  Southern 
States  will  be  increasing  the  northern  influence.  The  loss 
of  one  state  may  be  attended  with  particular  prejudice.  It 
will  be  a  good  while  before  amendments  of  any  kind  can 
take  place;  and  in  the  mean  time,  if  we  do  not  adopt,  we 
shall  have  no  share  or  agency  in  their  transactions,  though 
we  may  be  ultimately  bound  by  them.  The  first  session  of 
Congress  will  probably  be  the  most  important  of  any  for 
many  years.  A  general  code  of  laws  will  then  be  estab- 
lished in  execution  of  every  power  contained  in  the  Consti- 
tution. If  we  ratify,  and  propose  amendments,  our  repre- 
sentatives will  be  there  to  act  in  this  important  business.    If 

Johnston.]  NORTH   CAROLINA.  223 

we  do  not,  our  interest  may  suffer ;  nor  will  the  system  be 
afterwards  altered  merely  to  accommodate  our  wishes.  Be- 
sides that,  one  house  may  prevent  a  measure  from  taking 
place,  but  boih  must  concur  in  repealing  it.  I  therefore 
think  an  adoption  proposing  subsequent  amendments  far 
safer  and  more  desirable  than  the  other  mode  ;  nor  do  I 
doubt  that  every  amendment,  not  of  a  local  nature,  nor 
injuring  essentially  the  material  power  of  the  Constitution, 
but  principally  calculated  to  guard  against  misconstruction 
the  real  liberties  of  the  people,  will  be  readily  obtained. 

The  previous  question,  after  some  desultory  conversation, 
was  now  put:  for  it,  183;  agiiinst  it,  84;  majority  in  favor 
of  the  motion,  99. 

Thursday,  Juli/  31,  1788. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  appears  to  me  that, 
if  the  motion  made  yesterday,  by  the  gentleman  from  Hali- 
fax, be  adopted,  it  will  not  answer  the  intention  of  the 
people.  It  determines  nothing  with  respect  to  the  Consti- 
tution. We  were  sent  here  to  determine  upon  it.  [Here 
his  excellency  read  the  resolution  of  the  Assembly  under 
which  the  Convention  met.]  If  we  do  not  decide  upon  the 
Constitution,  we  shall  have  nothing  to  report  to  Congress. 
We  shall  be  entirely  out  of  the  Union,  and  stand  by  our- 
selves. I  wish  gentlemen  would  pause  a  moment  before 
they  decide  so  awful  a  question.  To  whom  are  we  to  refer 
these  amendments  which  are  to  be  proposed  as  the  condition 
of  our  adoption  ?  The  present  Congress  have  nothing  to  do 
with  them.  Their  authority  extends  only  to  introduce  the 
new  government,  not  to  receive  any  proposition  of  amend- 
ments. Shall  we  present  them  to  the  new  Congress  ?  In 
what  manner  can  that  be  done  ?  We  shall  have  no  repre- 
sentatives to  introduce  them.  We  may  indeed  appoint 
ambassadors  to  the  United  States  of  America,  to  represent 
what  scruples  North  Carolina  has  in  regard  to  their  Consti- 
tution. I  know  no  other  way.  A  number  of  states  have 
proposed  amendments  to  the  Constitution,  and  ratified  in 
the  mean  time.  These  will  have  great  weight  and  influence 
in  Congress,  and  may  prevail  in  getting  material  amend- 
ments proposed.  We  shall  have  no  share  in  voting  upon 
any  of  these  amendments ;  for,  in  my  humble  opinion,  we 
shall  be  entirely  out  of  the  Union,  and  can   be  considered 

224  DEBATES.  [Johnston 

only  as  a  foreign  power.  It  is  true,  the  United  States  may 
admit  us  hereafter.  But  they  may  admit  us  on  terms  un- 
equal and  disadvantageous  to  us.  In  the  mean  time,  many 
of  their  laws,  by  which  we  shall  be  hereafter  bound,  may  be 
particularly  injurious  to  the  interests  of  this  state,  as  we 
shall  have  no  share  in  their  formation.  Gentlemen  say  they 
will  not  be  influenced  by  what  others  have  done.  I  must 
confess  that  the.  example  of  great  and  good  men,  and  wise 
states,  has  great  weight  with  me. 

It  is  said  there  is  a  probability  New  York  will  not  adopt 
this  Constitution.  Perhaps  she  may  not.  But  it  is  gen- 
erally supposed  that  the  principal  reason  of  her  opposing  it 
arises  from  a  selfish  motive.  She  has  it  now  in  her  power 
to  tax  indirectly  two  contiguous  states.  Connecticut  and 
New  Jersey  contribute  to  pay  a  great  part  of  the  taxes  of 
that  state,  by  consuming  large  quantities  of  goods,  the  duties 
of  which  are  now  levied  for  the  benefit  of  New  York  only. 
A  similar  policy  may  induce  the  United  States  to  lay  restric- 
tions on  us,  if  we  are  out  of  the  Union.  These  considera- 
tions  ought  to  have  great  weight  with  us.  We  can  derive 
very  little  assistance  from  any  thing  New  York  will  do  on 
our  behalf.  Her  views  are  diametrically  opposite  to  ours. 
That  state  wants  all  her  imposts  for  her  own  exclusive 
support.  It  is  our  interest  that  all  imposts  should  go  into 
the  general  treasury.  Should  Congress  receive  our  com- 
missioners, it  will  be  a  considerable  time  before  this  business 
will  be  decided  on.  It  will  be  some  time  after  Congress 
meets  before  a  convention  is  appointed,  and  some  time  will 
elapse  before  the  convention  meets.  What  they  will  do, 
will  be  transmitted  to  each  of  the  states,  and  then  a  conven- 
tion, or  the  legislature,  in  each  state,  will  have  to  ratify  it 
ultimately.  This  will  probal)ly  take  up  ei^ihteen  months  or 
two  years.  In  the  mean  time,  the  national  government  is 
going  on.  Congress  will  ap[)oint  all  the  great  officers,  and 
will  proceed  to  make  laws  and  form  regulations  for  the 
future  government  of  the  United  States.  This  state,  during 
that  time,  will  have  no  share  in  their  proceedings,  or  any 
negative  on  any  business  before  them.  Another  incon- 
venience which  will  arise  is  this:  we  shall  be  deprived  of 
the  benefit  of  the  impost,  which,  under  the  new  government, 
is  an  additional  fund ;  all  the  states  having  a  common  right 
to  it.     By  being  in  the  Union  we  should  have  a  right  to  our 

Jones.]  NORTH  CAROLINA.  22t} 

proportionate  share  of  all  the  duties  and  imposts  collected  in 
all  the  stales,  l^ut  by  adopting  this  resolution,  we  shall 
lose  the  benefit  of  this,  which  is  an  object  worthy  of  atten- 
tion. Upon  the  whole,  I  can  see  no  possible  good  that  will 
result  to  this  state  from  following  the  resolution  before  us. 
1  have  not  the  vanity  to  think  that  any  reasons  I  offer  will 
have  any  weight.  But  I  came  from  a  respectable  county 
to  give  my  reasons  for  or  against  the  Constitution.  They 
expect  them  from  me,  and  to  suppress  them  would  be  a 
violation  of  my  duty. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES.  Mr.  Chairman,  the  gentleman 
last  up  has  mentioned  the  resolution  of  Congress  now  lyin{» 
before  us,  and  the  act  of  Assembly  under  which  we  mei 
here,  which  says  that  we  should  deliberate  and  determine  oii 
the  Constitution.  What  is  to  be  inferred  from  that  ?  Aro 
we  to  ratify  it  at  all  events  ?  Have  we  not  an  equal  right 
to  reject  ?  We  do  not  determine  by  neither  rejecting  noi 
adopting.  It  is  objected  we  shall  be  out  of  the  Union.  Si> 
I  wish  to  be.  We  are  left  at  liberty  to  come  in  at  any  time 
It  is  said  we  shall  suffer  a  g^reat  loss  for  want  of  a  share  of 
the  impost.  I  have  no  doubt  we  shall  have  it  when  we  come 
in,  as  much  as  if  we  adopted  now.  I  have  a  resolution  in 
my  pocket,  which  I  intend  to  introduce  if  this  resolution  is 
carried,  recommending  it  to  the  legislature  to  lay  an  im- 
post, for  the  use  of  Congress,  on  goods  imported  into  this 
state,  similar  to  that  which  may  be  laid  by  Congress 
on  goods  imported  into  the  adopting  states.  This  shows 
the  committee  what  is  my  intention,  and  on  what  foot- 
ing we  are  to  be.  This  being  the  case,  I  will  forfeit  my 
life  that  we  shall  come  in  for  a  share.  It  is  said  that  all  the 
offices  of  Congress  will  be  filled,  and  we  shall  have  no  share 
in  appointing  the  officers.  This  is  an  objection  of  very  little 
importance.  Gentlemen  need  not  be  in  such  haste.  If  left 
eighteen  months  or  two  years  without  offices,  it  is  no  great 
cause  of  alarm.  The  gentleman  further  said  that  we  could 
send  no  representatives,  but  must  send  ambassadors  to  Con- 
gross,  as  a  foreign  power.  I  assert  the  contrary ;  and  that, 
whenever  a  convention  of  the  states  is  called,  North  Caro- 
lina will  be  called  upon  like  the  rest.  I  do  not  know  what 
these  gentlemen  would  desire. 

I  am  very  sensible  that  there  is  a  great  majority  against 
the  Constitution.     If  we  take  the  question  as  they  propose 
VOL.  IV.  29 


they  kuow  it  would  l)e  rejected,  and  bring  on  us  all  the 
dreadful  conse<|uence$  which  they  feelingly  foretell,  bat 
wliich  can  never  in  the  least  alarm  me.  I  have  endeavored 
to  fall  in  with  their  opinions,  but  could  not.  We  have  a 
right,  in  plain  terms,  to  refuse  it  if  we  think  proper.  I  have, 
in  my  proposition,  adopted,  word  for  word,  the  Virginia 
amendments,  with  one  or  two  additional  ones.  We  run  no 
risk  of  being  excluded  from  the  Union  when  we  think  proper 
to  come  in.  Virginia,  our  next  neighbor,  will  not  oppose 
our  admission.  We  have  a  common  cause  with  her.  She 
wishes  the  same  alterations.  We  are  of  the  greatest  imj)or- 
tance  to  her.  She  will  have  great  weight  in  Congress ;  and 
there  is  no  doubt  but  she  will  do  every  thing  she  can  to  bring 
us  into  the  Union.  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  are  deeply 
interested  in  our  being  admitted.  The  Creek  nation  would 
overturn  these  two  states  without  our  aid.  They  cannot 
exist  without  North  Carolina.  There  is  no  doubt  we  shall 
obtain  our  amendments,  and  come  into  the  Union  when  we 
please.  Massachusetts,  New  Hampshire,  and  other  states, 
have  proposed  amendments.  New  York  will  do  also,  if  she 
ratifies.  There  will  be  a  majority  of  the  states,  and  the 
most  respectal)le,  im[)ortant,  and  extensive  states  also,  desi- 
rous of  amendments,  and  favorable  to  our  admission. 

As  great  names  have  been  mentioned,  I  beg  leave  to  men- 
tion the  authority  of  Mr.  Jefferson,  whose  great  abilities  and 
respectability  are  well  known.  When  the  Convention  sat 
in  Richmond,  in  Virginia,  Mr.  Madison  received  a  letter  from 
him.  In  that  letter  he  said  he  wished  nine  states  would 
adopt  it,  not  because  it  deserved  ratification,  but  to  preserve 
the  Union.  But  he  wished  that  the  other  four  states  would 
reject  it,  that  there  might  be  a  certainty  of  obtaining  amend- 
ments. Congress  may  go  on,  and  take  no  notice  of  our 
amendments;  but  I  am  confident  they  will  do  nothing  of 
importance  till  a  convention  be  called.  If  I  recollect  rightly, 
amendments  may  be  ratified  either  by  conventions  or  the 
legislatures  of  the  states.  In  either  case,  it  may  take  up 
about  eighteen  months.  For  my  part,  I  would  rather  be 
eighteen  years  out  of  the  Union  than  adopt  it  in  its  present 
defective  form. 

Gov.  JOHNSTON.  Mr.  Chairman,  I  wish  to  clear  my- 
self from  the  imputation  of  the  gentleman  last  up.  If  any 
part  of  my  conduct  warrants  his  aspersion,  — if  ever  I  hunted 

SlPBiccm.]  NORTH  CARXH^INA.  227 

after  offices,  or  sought  public  favors  to  promote  private  inter-' 
est,  —  let  the  instances  be  pointed  out.     If  I  know  mjse}i 
I  never  did.     It  is  easy  for  any  man  to  throw  out  ilHbera# 
and  ungenerous  insinuations.     I  have  no  view  to  offices  unde 
this  Constitution.     My  views  are  much  humbler.     When  f 
spoke  of  Congress  establishing  offices,  1  meant  great  offices, 
the  establishment  of  which  might  affect  the  interests  of  the 
states  ;  and  I  added  that  they  would  proceed  to  make  lawsr, 
deeply  affecting  us,  without  any  influence  of  our  own.     A% 
to  the  appointment  of  the  officers,  it  is  of  no  importance  W 
me  who  is  an  officer,  if  he  be  a  good  man. 

Mr.  JONES  replied,  that  in  every  publication  one  might 
see  ill  motives  assigned  to  the  opposers  of  the  Constitutiott*^ 
One  reason  assigned  for  their  opposition  was,  that  they  feareA 
the  loss  of  their  influence,  and  diminution  of  their  importance.* 
He  Sdid,  that  it  was  fair  its  opposers  should  be  permitted  to 
retort,  and  assign  a  reason  equally  selfish  for  the  conduct  of 
its  friends*  Expectation  to  offices  might  influence  them,  asr 
well  as  the  loss  of  office  and  influence  miglu  bias  the  others. 
He  intended  no  allusion  to  that  gentleman,  for  whom  he  de- 
clared he  had  the  highest  respect. 

Mr.  SPENCER  rose  in  support  of  the  motion  of  the  gen- 
tleman from  Halifax.  He  premised,  that  he  wished  no  res>- 
olution  to  be  carried  without  the  utmost  deliberation  and 
candor.  He  thought  the  proposition  was  couched  in  such 
modest  terms  as  could  not  possiblj'  give  offence  to  the  other 
states  ;  that  the  amendments  it  proposed  were  to  be  laid  be- 
fore Congress,  and  would  probably  be  admitted,  as  they 
were  similar  to  those  which  were  wished  for  and  proposecl 
by  sever^tl  of  the  adopting  states.  He  always  thought  it 
more  proper,  and  agreeable  to  prudence,  to  propose  amend*- 
ments  previous,  rather  than  subsequent,  to  ratification.  He 
said  thnt,  if  two  or  more  persons  entered  into  a  copartnership, 
and  employed  a  scrivener  to  draw  up  the  articles  of  copart- 
nership in  a  particular  form,  and,  on  reading  them,  they  found 
them  to  be  erroneous, — it  would  be  thought  very  strange 
if  any  of  them  should  say,  "Sign  it  first,  and  we  shall  have 
it  altered  hereafter."  If  it  should  be  signed  befiore  altera^ 
tion,  it  would  be  considered  as  an  act  of  indiscretion.  Asv 
therefore,  it  was  a  principle  of  prudence,  in  matters  of  prU 
rate  property,  not  to  assent  to  any  obligation  till  its  errors: 
were  removed,  he  thought  the  principle  infinitely  more  neces* 

2id  DEBATES.  [Ibedell 

sarj  to  be  at)  ended  to  in  a  matter  which  concerned  such  a 
number  of  people,  and  so  many  millions  yet  unborn.  Gen- 
tlemen said  they  should  be  out  of  the  Union.  He  observed, 
that  they  were  before  confederated  with  the  other  states  by 
^  solemn  compact,  which  was  not  to  be  dissolved  without 
the  consent  of  every  state  in  the  Union.  North  Carolina 
had  not  assented  to  its  dissolution.  *  If  it  was  dissolved,  it 
was  not  their  fault,  but  that  of  the  adopting  states.  It  was 
a  maxim  of  law  that  the  same  solemnities  were  neces- 
sary to  destroy,  which  were  necessary  to  create,  a  deed 
or  contract.  He  was  of  opinion  that,  if  they  should 
be  out  of  the  Union  by  proposing  previous  amendments, 
they  were  as  much  so  now.  If  the  adoption  by  nine 
states  enabled  them  to  exclude  the  other  four  states,  he 
thought  North  Carolina  might  then  be  considered  as  excluded 
But  he  did  not  think  that  doctrine  well  founded.  On  the 
contrary,  he  thought  each  state  might  come  into  the  Union 
when  she  thought  proper.  He  confessed  it  gave  him  some 
concern,  but  he  looked  on  the  short  exclusion  of  eighteen 
months  —  if  it  might  be  called  exclusion  —  as  infinitely  less 
dangerous  than  an  unconditional  adoption.  He  expected 
the  amendments  would  be  adopted,  and  when  they  were, 
this  state  was  ready  to  embrace  it.  No  great  inconvenience 
could  result  from  this.  .  [Mr.  Spencer  made  some  other  re- 
marks, but  spoke  too  low  to  be  heard.] 

Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  Chairman,  in  my  opinion,  this  is  a 
very  awful  moment.  On  a  right  decision  of  this  question 
may  possibly  depend  the  peace  and  happiness  of  our  country 
for  ages.  Whatever  be  the  decision  of  the  house  on  this  sub- 
ject, it  ought  to  be  well  weighed  before  it  is  given.  We 
ought  to  view  our  situation  in  all  its  consequences,  and  deter- 
mine with  the  utmost  caution  and  deliberation.  It  has  l)een 
suggested,  not  only  out  of  doors,  but  during  the  course  of  the 
debates,  that,  if  we  are  out  of  the  Union,  it  will  be  the  fault 
of  other  states,  and  not  ours.  It  is  true  that,  by  the  Articles 
of  Confederation,  the  consent  of  each  state  was  necessary 
for  any  alteration.  It  is  also  true  that  the  consent  of  nine 
states  renders  the  Constitution  binding  on  them.  The  un- 
happy consequences  of  that  unfortimate  article  in  this  Con- 
federation produced  the  necessity  of  this  article  in  the  Con- 
stitution. Every  body  knows  that,  through  the  peculiar 
obstinacy  of  Rhode  Island,  many  great  advantages  were  lost 


Notwithsiandiiig  her  weakness,  she  uniformly  opposed  everv 
regulation  for  the  benefit  and  honor  of  the  Union  at  large. 
The  other  states  were  driven  to  the  necessity  of  providing 
for  their  own  security  and  welfare,  without  waiting  for  the 
consent  of  that  little  state.  The  deputies  from  twelve  states 
unanimously  concurred  in  opinion  that  the  happiness  of  all 
America  ought  not  to  be  sacrificed  to  the  caprice  and  obsti- 
nacy of  so  inconsiderable  a  part. 

It  will  often  happen,  in  the  course  of  human  affairs,  that 
the  policy  which  is  proper  on  common  occasions  fails,  and 
that  laws  which  do  very  well  in  the  regular  administration 
of  a  government  cannot  stand  when  every  thing  is  going 
into  confusion.  In  such  a  case,  the  safety  of  the  community 
must  supersede  every  other  consideration,  and  every  subsist- 
ing regulation  which  interferes  with  that  must  be  departed 
from,  rather  than  that  the  people  should  be  ruined.  The 
Convention,  therefore,  with  a  degree  of  manliness  which  1 
admire,  dispensed  with  a  unanimous  consent  for  the  pres- 
ent change,  and  at  the  same  time  provided  a  permanent 
remedy  for  this  evil,  not  barely  by  dispensing  with  the  con- 
sent of  one  member  in  future  alterations,  but  by  making  the 
consent  of  nine  sufficient  for  the  whole,  if  the  rest  did  not 
agree,  considering  that  the  consent  of  so  large  a  number 
ought  in  reason  to  govern  the  whole ;  and  the  proportion 
was  taken  from  the  old  Confederation,  which  in  the  most 
important  cases  required  the  consent  of  nine,  and  in  every 
thing,  except  the  alteration  of  the  Constitution,  made  that 
number  sufficient.  It  has  been  objected,  that  the  adoption 
of  this  government  would  be  improper,  because  it  would  in- 
terfere with  the  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  state.  No  oath 
of  allegiance  requires  us  to  sacrifice  the  safety  of  our  coun- 
try. When  the  British  government  attempted  to  establish 
a  tyranny  in  America,  the  people  did  not  think  their  oath 
of  allegiance  bound  them  to  submit  to  it.  I  had  taken 
that  oath  several  times  myself,  but  had  no  scruple  to  oppose 
their  tyrannical  measures.  The  great  principle  is.  The  safe- 
ty of  the  people  is  the  supreme  law.  Government  was  ori- 
ginally instituted  for  their  welfare,  and  whatever  may  be  its 
form,  this  ought  to  be  its  object.  This  is  the  fundamental 
principle  on  which  our  government  is  founded.  In  othei 
countries,  the}'  suppose   the  existence  of  original  compact, 

and  infer  that,  if  the  sovereign  violates  his  part  of  it,  the 



people  have  a  right  to  resist.  If  he  does  not,  the  goven* 
Hient  must  remain  unchaiiginl,  unless  the  sovereign  conseaU 
to  ao  alteration.  In  America,  our  governments  have  been 
clearlj  created  by  the  people  tliemselves.  The  same  ao- 
Chority  that  created  can  destroy  ;  and  the  people  may  un- 
doubtedly change  the  government,  not  because  it  is  ill  ex* 
ercised,  but  because  they  conceive  another  form  will  be  more 
conducive  to  their  welfare.  I  have  stated  the  reasons  (at 
departing  from  the  rigid  article  in  the  Confederation  requir- 
ing a  unanimous  consent.  We  were  compelled  to  do  this, 
or  see  our  country  ruined.  In  the  manner  of  the  dispensa- 
tbn,  the  Convention,  however,  appear  to  have  acted  with 
great  prudence,  in  copying  the  example  of  the  Confedera- 
tion in  all  other  particulars  of  the  greatest  moment,  hw 
authorizing  nine  states  to  bind'  the  whole.  It  is  suggested, 
indeed,  that,  though  ten  states  have  adopted  this  new  Con- 
stitution, yet,  as  they  had  no  right  to  dissolve  the  old  Ar- 
ticles of  Confederation,  these  still  subsist,  and  the  old  Union 
remains,  of  which  we  are  a  part.  The  truth  of  that  sug- 
gestion may  well  be  doubted,  on  this  ground  :  when  the 
principles  of  a  constitution  are  violated,  the  constitution  it<- 
self  is  dissolved,  or  may  be  dissolved  at  the  pleasure  of  the 
parties  to  it  Now,  according  to  the  Articles  of  Confeder- 
ation, Congress  had  authority  to  demand  money,  in  a  certain 
proportion,  from  the  respective  states,  to  answer  the  exigen- 
cies of  the  Union.  Whatever  requisitions  they  made  for  that 
purpose  were  constitutionally  binding  on  the  states.  The 
states  had  no  discretion  except  as  to  the  mode  of  raising 
the  money.  Perhaps  every  state  has  committed  repeated 
violations  of  the  demands  of  Congress.  I  do  not  believe  it 
was  from  any  dishonorable  intention  in  many  of  the  states ; 
but  whatever  was  the  cause,  the  fact  is,  such  violations  were 
committed.  The  consequence  is  that,  upon  the  principle  I 
have  mentioned,  (and  in  which  I  believe  all  writers  agree,) 
the  Articles  of  Confederation  are  no  longer  binding.  It  is 
alleged  that,  by  making  the  consent  of  nine  sufficient  to  form 
a  government  for  themselves,  the  first  nine  may  exclude  the 
other  four.  This  is  a  very  extraordinary  allegation.  When 
the  new  Constitution  was  proposed,  it  was  proposed  to  the 
thirteeen  states  in  the  Union.  It  was  desired  that  all  should 
%gree,  if  possible ;  but  if  that  could  not  be  obtained,  they 
took  care  that  nine  states  might  at  least  save  themselves 


from  destmctiou.  £ach|  undoubtedly,  had  a  light  on  the 
first  proposition,  because  it  was  proposed  to  them  all.  The 
only  doubt  can  be,  whether  they  had  a  right  afterwards.  In 
my  opinion,  when  any  state  has  once  rejected  the  Constitu- 
tion, it  cannot  claim  to  come  in  afterwards  as  a  matter  of 

If  it  does  not,  in  plain  terms,  reject,  but  refuses  to  accede 
for  the  present,  1  think  the  other  states  may  regard  this  as 
an  absolute  rejection,,  and  refuse  to  admit  us  afterwards  but 
at  their  pleasure,  and  on  what  terms  they  please.     Gentle- 
men wish  for  amendments.    On  this  subject,  though  we  may 
differ  as  to  the  necessity  of  amendments,  I  believe  none  will 
deny  the   propriety  of  proposing  some,  if  only  for  the  pur- 
pose of  giving  more  general  satisfaction.      The  question, 
then,  is,  whether  it  is  most  prudent  for  us  to  come  into  the 
Union  immediately,  and  propose  amendments,  (as  has  been 
done  in  the  other  states,)  or  to  propose  amendments,  and  be 
out  of  the  Union  till  all  these   be  agreed  to  by  the  other 
states.     The  consequences  of  either  resolution  I   beg  leave 
to  state.     By  adopting,  we  shall  be  in  the  Union   with  our 
•  sister  states,  which  is  the  only  foundation  of  our   prosperity 
and  safety.     We  shall  avoid  the  danger  of  a  separation,  a 
danger  of  which  the  latent  effects  are  unknown.     So  far 
am  I  convinced  of  the  necessity  of  the  Union,  that  I  would 
[ive  up  many  things  against  my  own  opinion   to  obtain  it. 
[f  we  sacrificed  it  by  a  rejection  of  the  Constitution,  or  a 
refusal  to  adopt,  (which  amounts,  I  think,  nearly  to  the  same 
thing,)  the  very  circumstance  of  disunion  may  occasion  ani- 
mosity l^etween  us  and  the  inhabitants  of  the  other  states, 
which  may  be  the  means  of  severing  us  forever. 

We  shall  lose  the  benefit  which  must  accrue  to  the  other 
states  from  the  new  government.  Their  trade  will  flourish; 
goods  will  sell  cheap;  their  commodities  will  rise  in  value; 
and  their  distresses,  occasioned  by  the  war,  will  gradually  be 
removed.  Ours,  for  want  of  these  advantages,  will  continue. 
Another  very  material  consequence  will  result  from  it :  we 
shall  lose  our  share  of  the  imposts  in  all  the  states,  which, 
under  this  Constitution,  is  to  go  into  the  federal  treasury. 
It  is  the  particular  local  interest  of  this  state  to  adopt,  on  this 
account,  more,  perhaps,  than  that  of  any  other  member  of  the 
Union.  At  present,  all  these  imposts  go  into  the  respective 
treasury  of  each  state,  and  we  well  know  our  own  are  of  little 


232  DEBATES.  [Ibedell. 

conscq  lence,  compared  to  those  of  the  other  states  in  general 
The  gtaitltiman  from  Halifax  (Mr.  Jones)  has  offered  an  ex- 
|)edient  to  prevent  the  loss  oi  our  share  of  the  impost.  In 
my  opinion,  that  expedient  will  not  answer,  the  purpose. 
The  amount  of  duties  on  goods  imported  into  this  state  is 
very  little  ;  and  if  these  resolutions  are  agreed  to,  it  will  be 
less.  I  ask  any  gentleman  whether  the  United  States  would 
receive,  from  the  duties  of  this  state,  so  much  as  would  be  our 
proportion,  under  the  Constitution,  of  the  duties  on  goods  im- 
ported in  all  the  states.  Our  duties  would  be  no  manner  of 
compensation  for  such  proportion.  What  would  be  the  lan- 
guage of  Congress  on  our  holding  forth  such  an  offer  ?  "  If 
you  are  willing  to  enjoy  the  benefits  of  the  Union,  you  must 
be  subject  to  all  the  laws  of  it.  We  will  make  no  partial 
agreement  with  you."  This  would  probably  be  their  lan- 
guage. I  have  no  doubt  all  America  would  wish  North 
Carolina  to  be  a  member  of  the  Union.  It  is  of  importance 
to  them.  But  we  ought  to  consider  whether  ten  states  can 
do  longer  without  one,  or  one  without  ten.  On  a  compe- 
tition, which  will  give  way  ?  The  adopting  states  will  say, 
*'  Other  states  had  objections  as  well  as  you  ;  but  rather  than 
separate,  they  agreed  to  come  into  the  Union,  trusting  to  the 
Justice  of  the  other  states  for  the  adoption  of  proper  amend- 
ments afterwards.  One  most  respectable  state,  Virginia,  has 
pursued  this  measure,  though  apparently  averse  to  the  system 
as  it  now  stands.  But  you  have  laid  down  the  condition  on 
which  alone  you  will  come  into  the  Union.  We  must  accede 
to  your  particular  propositions,  or  be  disunited  from  you 
altogether.  Is  it  fit  that  North  Carolina  shall  dictate  to  the 
whole  Union  ?  We  may  be  convinced  by  your  reason,  but 
our  conduct  will  certainly  not  be  altered  by  your  resistance." 
I  beg  leave  to  say,  if  Virginia  thought  it  right  to  adopt  and 
propose  aniendments,  under  the  circumstances  of  the  Con- 
stitution at  that  time,  surely  it  is  much  more  so  for  us  in  our 
present  situation.  That  state,  as  was  justly  observed,  is  a 
most  powerful  and  respectable  one.  Had  she  held  out,  it 
would  have  been  a  subject  of  most  serious  alarm.  But  she 
thought  the  risk  of  losing  the  union  altogether  too  dangerous 
to  be  incurred.  She  did  not  then  know  of  the  ratification  of 
New  Hampshire.  If  she  thought  it  necessary  to  adopt,  when 
only  eight  states  had  ratified,  is  it  not  much  more  necessary 
for  us  after  the  ratification  by  ten  ?     I  do  not  say  that  we 

Iredbll.]  north   CAROLINA.  233 

ought  servilely  to  imitate  any  example.  But  I  may  say,  that 
the  examples  of  wise  men  and  intelligent  nations  are  worthy 
of  respect ;  and  that,  in  general,  we  may  be  much  safer  in 
following  than  in  departing  from  them.  In  my  opinion,  as 
many  of  the  amendments  proposed  are  similar  to  amend- 
ments recommended  not  only  by  Virginia,  but  by  other  states, 
there  is  great  probability  of  their  being  obtained.  All  the 
amendments  proposed,  undoubtedly,  will  not  be,  nor  I  think 
ought  to  be ;  but  such  as  tend  to  secure  more  effectually  the 
liberties  of  the  people  against  an  abuse  of  the  powers  granted 
in  all  human  probability,  will ;  for  in  such  amendments  all 
the  states  are  equally  interested.  The  probability  of  such 
amendments  being  obtained  is  extremely  great ;  for  though 
three  states  ratified  the  Constitution  unanimously,  there  has 
been  a  considerable  opposition  in  the  other  states.  In  New 
Hampshire,  the  majority  was  small.  In  Massachusetts,  there 
was  a  strong  opposition.  In  Connecticut,  the  opposition  was 
about  one  third  :  so  it  was  in  Pennsylvania.  In  Maryland, 
the  minority  was  small,  but  very  respectable.  In  Virginia, 
they  had  little  more  than  a  bare  majority.  There  was  a 
^powerful  minority  in  South  Carolina.  Can  any  man  pre- 
tend to  say  that,  thus  circumstanced,  the  states  would  dis- 
approve of  amendments  calculated  to  give  satisfaction  to  the 
people  at  large  ?  There  is  a  very  great  probability,  if  not  an 
absolute  certainty,  that  amendments  will  be  obtained.  The 
interest  of  North  Carolina  would  add  greatly  to  the  scale  in 
their  favor.  If  we  do  not  accede,  we  may  injure  the  states 
who  wish  for  amendments,  by  withdrawing  ourselves  from 
their  assistance.  We  are  not,  at  any  event,  in  a  condition 
to  stand  alone.  God  forbid  we  should  be  a  moment  sepa- 
rated from  our  sister  states!  If  we  are,  we  shall  be  in  great 
danger  of  a  separation  forever.  I  trust  every  gentleman  will 
pause  before  he  contributes  to  so  awful  an  event. 

We  have  been  happy  in  our  connection  with  the  other 
states.  Our  freedom,  independence,  every  thing  dear  to  us, 
has  been  derived  from  that  union  we  are  now  going  rashly 
to  dissolve.  If  we  are  to  be  separated,  let  every  gentleman 
well  weigh  the  ground  he  stands  on  before  he  votes  for  the 
separation.  Let  him  not  have  to  reproach  himself,  hereafter, 
that  he  voted  without  due  consideration  for  a  measure  that 
proved  the  destruction  of  his  country. 

Mr.  Iiedell  then  observed   that  there  were  insinuations 

VOL    IV  30 

til  DEBATES.  [JoHW 

thrown  out,  against  those  who  favored  the  Coustitation, 
that  ihej  had  a  view  of  getting  offices  and  emoluments.  He 
said,  he  hoped  no  man  thought  him  so  wicked  as  to  sacrifice 
the  interest  of  his  country  to  private  views.  He  declared,  in 
the  most  solemn  manner,  the  insinuation  was  unjust  and  iH- 
founded  as  to  himself.  He  believed  it  was  so  with  respect 
to  the  rest.  The  interest  and  happiness  of  his  country  solely 
governed  him  on  that  occasion.  He  could  appeal  to  some 
members  in  the  house,  and  particularly  to  those  who  knew 
him  in  the  lower  part  of  the  country,  that  his  disposition  had 
never  been  pecuniary,  and  that  he  had  never  aspired  to 
offices.  At  the  beginning  of  the  revolution,  he  said,  he  held 
one  of  the  best  offices  in  the  state  under  the  crown — -an 
office  on  which  he  depended  for  his  support.  His  reflations 
were  in  Great  Britain ;  yet,  though  thus  circumstanced,  80 
far  was  he  from  being  influenced  by  pecuniary  motives,  or 
emoluments  of  office,  that,  as  soon  as  his  situation  would  ad** 
mit  of  it,  he  did  not  hesitate  a  moment  to  join  the  opposition 
to  Great  Britain ;  nor  wotild  the  richest  office  of  America 
have  tempted  him  to  adhere  to  that  unjust  cause  of  the  Brit 
ish  government.  He  apologized  for  taking  up  the  time  of 
the  committee ;  but  he  observed,  that  reflections  of  that  kind 
were  considered  as  having  applied,  unless  they  were  taken 
notice  of.  He  attributed  no  unworthy  motives  to  any  gen 
tieman  in  the  house.  He  believed  most  of  them  wished  to 
pursue  the  interest  of  their  country  according  to  their  own 
ideas  of  it.  He  hoped  other  gentlemen  would  be  equally 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  observed,  that  he  assigned  un- 
worthy motives  to  no  one.  He  thought  a  gentleman  had  insin- 
uated that  the  opposition  all  acted  from  base  motives.  He 
was  well  assured  that  their  motives  were  as  good  as  those  of 
the  other  party,  and  he  thought  he  had  a  right  to  retort  by 
showing  that  selfish  views  might  influence  as  well  on  one 
side  as  the  other.  He  intended,  however,  no  particular  re^ 
flection  on  those  two  gentlemen  who  had  applied  the  obser- 
vation to  themselves  —  for  whom,  he  said,  he  had  the  highest 
respect,  and  was  sorry  he  had  made  the  observation,  as  it 
had  given  them  pain.  But  if  they  were  conscious  that  the 
observation  did  not  apply  to  them,  they  ought  not  to  be  of- 
fended at  it.  He  then  explained  the  nature  of  the  resolutions 
he  proposed ;   and  the  plain   question  was,  whether  they 


should  adopt  them  or  not.  He  was  not  afraid  ihac  North 
Carolina  would  Bot  be  admitted  at  any  time  htroafter 
Maryland,  ke  said,  had  not  confederated  for  many  years  with 
the  other  states ;  yet  she  was  considered  in  the  mean  time 
as  a  member  of  the  Union,  was  allowed  as  such  to  send  her 
proportion  of  men  and  money,  and  was  at  length  admitted 
into  the  confederacy,  in  1781.  This,  he  said,  showed  how 
the  adopting  states  would  act  on  the  present  occasion. 
North  Carolina  might  come  into  the  Union  when  she 

Gov.  JOHNSTON  made  some  observations  as  to  the  par- 
ticular case  of  Maryland,  but  in  too  low  a  voice  to  be  dis- 
tinctly heard. 

Mr.  BLOOD  WORTH  observed,  that  the  first  convention 
which  met  to  consult  on  the  necessary  alterations  of  the  Con- 
federation, so  as  to  make  it  efficient,  and  put  the  commerce 
of  the  United  States  on  a  better  footing,  not  consisting  of  a 
<^fficient  number  from  the  diflferent  states,  so  as  to  authorize 
them  to  proceed,  returned  without  effecting  any  thing ;  but 
proposed  that  another  convention  should  be  called,  to  have 
more  extensive  powers  to  alter  and  amend  the  Confedera- 
tion. This  proposition  of  that  convention  was  warmly  op- 
posed in  Congress.  Mr.  King,  from  Massachusetts,  insisted 
OQ  the  impropriety  of  the  measure,  and  that  the  existing 
system  ought  to  stand  as  it  was.  His  arguments,  he  sakl, 
were,  that  it  might  destroy  the  Confederation  to  propose  al- 
terations ;  that  the  unanimous  consent  of  all  the  states  was 
necessary  to  introduce  those  alterations,  which  could  not  pos- 
sibly be  obtained ;  and  that  it  would,  therefore,  be  in  vain  to 
attempt  it.  He  wondered  how  gentlemen  came  to  enter^ 
tain  different  opinions  now.  He  declared  he  had  listened 
with  attention  to  the  arguments  of  the  gentlemen  on  the 
other  side,  and  had  endeavored  to  remove  every  kind  of  bias 
from  his  mind ;  yet  he  had  heard  nothing  of  sufficient  weight 
to  induce  him  to  alter  his  opinion.  He  was  sorry  that  there 
was  any  division  on  that  important  occasion,  and  wished  they 
could  all  go  hand  in  hand. 

As  to  the  disadvantages  of  a  temporary  exclusion  from  the 
Union,  he  thought  them  trifling.  He  asked  if  a  few  politi- 
cal advantages  could  be  put  in  competition  with  our  lib- 
erties. Gentlemen  said  that  amendments  would  piobably 
be  obtained.     He  thought  their  arguments  and  reasons  were 

23o  DEBATES  [Davie 

not  so  sure  a  method  to  obtain  them  as  withholding  tlieir 
consent  would  be.  He  could  not  conceive  that  the  adopting 
states  would  take  any  measures  to  keep  this  state  out  of  the 
Union.  If  a  right  view  were  taken  of  the  subject,  he  said 
they  could  not  be  blamed  in  staying  out  of  the  Union  till 
amendments  were  obtained.  The  compact  between  the 
states  was  violate  1  by  the  other  states,  and  not  by  North 
Carolina.  Would  the  violating  party  blame  the  upright 
party  ?  This  determination  would  correspond  with  the  opin- 
ion of  the  gentleman  who  had  written  from  France  on  the 
subject.  He  would  lay  stress  on  no  man's  opinion,  but  the 
opinion  of  that  gentleman  was  very  respectable. 

Mr.  DAVIE.  Mr.  Chairman,  it  is  said  that  there  is  a 
great  majority  against  the  Constitution,  and  in  favor  of  the 
gentleman's  proposition.  The  object  of  the  majority,  I  sup- 
pose, is  to  pursue  the  most  probable  method  of  obtaining 
amendments.  The  honorable  gentleman  from  Halifax  has 
said  this  is  the  most  eligible  method  of  obtaining  them.  My 
opinion  is  the  very  reverse.  Let  us  weigh  the  probability 
of  both  modes  proposed,  and  determine  with  candor  which 
IS  the  safest  and  surest  method  of  obtaining  the  wished-for 
alterations.  The  honorable  gentleman  from  Anson  has  said 
that  our  conduct  in  adhering  to  these  resolutions  would  be 
modest.  What  is  his  idea  or  definition  of  modesty  ?  The 
term  must  be  very  equivocal.  So  far  from  being  modest,  it 
appears  to  me  to  be  no  less  than  an  arrogant,  dictatorial 
proposal  of  a  constitution  to  the  United  States  of  America. 
We  shall  be  no  part  of  that  confederacy,  and  yet  attempt  to 
dictate  to  one  of  the  most  powerful  confederacies  in  the 
world.  It  is  also  said  to  be  most  agreeable  to  prudence.  If 
our  real  object  be  amendments,  every  man  must  agree  that 
the  most  likely  means  of  obtaining  them  are  the  most  prudent. 
Four  of  the  most  respectable  states  have  adopted  the  Consti- 
tution, and  recommended  amendments.  New  York,  (if  she  re- 
fuses to  adopt,)  Rhode  Island,  and  North  Carolina,  will  be  the 
only  states  out  of  the  Union.  But  if  these  three  were  added, 
they  would  compose  a  majority  in  favor  of  amendments,  and 
might,  by  various  means,  compel  the  other  states  into  the 
measure.  It  must  be  granted  that  there  is  no  way  of  ob- 
taining amendments  but  the  mode  prescribed  in  the  Consti- 
tution ;  two  thirds  of  the  legislatures  of  the  states  in  the 
co7ifederacy  may  require  Congress  to  call  a  convention  to 

Oatie.]  north  carouna.  237 


propose  amendments,  or  the  same  proportion  of  both  houses 
may  propose  them.  It  will  then  be  of  no  consequence  that 
we  stand  out  and  propose  amendments.  Without  adoption 
we  are  not  a  member  of  the  confederacy,  and,  possessing  no 
federal  rights,  can  neither  make  any  proposition  nor  require 
Congress  to  call  a  convention. 

Is  it  not  clear,  however  strange  it  may  be,  that  we  arc 
^withholding  our  weight  from  those  states  who  are  of  our  own 
opinion,  and   by  a  perverse  obstinacy  obstructing  the  ver^ 
measure  we  wish  to  promote  ?     If  two  thirds  of  l)oth  houses 
^re  necessary  to  send  forward  amendments  to  the  states, 
%vould  it  not  be  prudent  that  we  should  be  there,  and  add 
c)ur  vote  to  the  number  of  those  states  who  are  of  the  same 
sentiment  ?     The  honorable  member  from  Anson  has  likened 
this  business  to  a  copartnership,  comparing  small  things  to 
great.     The  comparison  is  only  just  in   one   respect :  the 
dictatorial  proposal  of  North  Carolina  to  the  American  con- 
federacy is  like  a  beggarly  bankrupt  addressing  an  opulent 
company  of  merchants,  and  arrogantly  telling  them,  "  1  wish 
to  be  in  copartnership  with  you,  but  the  terms  must  be  such 
•  as  I  please. ^^     What  has  North  Carolina  to  put  into  the  stock 
with  the  other   states  ?     Have   we    not  felt  our    poverty  ? 
What  was  the  language  of  Congress  on  their  last  requisition 
on  this  state  ?     Surely  gentlemen  must  rememl)er  the  pain- 
ful terms  in  which  our  delinquency  was  treated.     The  gen- 
deman  has  also  said  that  we   shall   still   be  a  part  of  the 
Union,  and  if  we  be  separated,  it  is  not  our  fault.     This  is 
an  obvious  solecism.     It  is  our  own  faulty  sir,  apd  the  direct 
consequence  of  the   means  we  are   now  pursuing.     North 
Carolina  stands  foremost  in  the  pint  of  delinquency,,  and 
has  repeatedly  violated  the  Confederation.     The  conduct  of 
this  state  has  been  among  the  principal   causes  which   pro- 
duced this  revolution  in  our  federal  government.     The  honor- 
able gentleman  has  also  added,  "that  it  was  a  rule  in  law  that 
the  same  solemnities  were  necessary  to  annul,  which  were 
necessary  to  create  or  establish,  a  compact ;  and  that,  as  thir- 
teen states  created,  so  thirteen  states  must  concur  in  the 
dissohition  of  the  Confederation."  —  This  may  be  talking 
like  a  lawyer  or  a  judge,  but  it  is  very  unlike  a  politician. 
A  majority  is  the  rule  of  republican  decisions.     It  was  the 
voice  of  a  majority  of  the  people  of  America  that  gave  that 
system  validity,  and  the  same  authority  can  and  will  annul 

'J3a  DEBATES.  [Jhtvtm. 

it  at  anj  time.  Every  man  of  common  sense  knows  that 
political  power  is  political  right.  Lawyers  may  cavil  and 
quibble  about  the  necessity  of  unanimity,  but  the  true  prin- 
ciple is  otherwise.  In  every  republican  community,  the 
majority  binds  the  minority  ;  and  whether  confederated  or  sep- 
arated, the  principle  will  equally  apply.  We  have  no  right 
to  come  into  the  Union  until  we  exercise  the  right  of  decid- 
ing on  the  question  referred  to  us.  Adoption  places  us  in 
the  Union  —  rejection  extinguishes  the  right  forever.  The 
scheme  proposed  by  these  gentlemen  will  certainly  be  con- 
sidered as  an  absolute  rejection  ;  it  may  amuse  the  people, 
and  answer  a  purpose  here,  but  will  not  answer  any  purpose 

The  honorable  gentleman  from  Halifax  asserts,  "  We  may 
come  in  when  we  please."  The  gentleman  from  New 
Hanover,  on  the  same  side  of  the  question,  endeavored  to 
alarm  and  frighten  us  about  the  dangerous  influence  of  the 
Eastern  States.  If  he  deserves  any  credit,  can  we  expect 
they  will  let  us  into  the  Union,  until  they  have  accomplished 
their  particular  views,  and  then  but  on  the  most  disadvan- 
tageous terms  ?  Commercial  regulations  will  be  one  of  the  ' 
great  objects  of  the  first  session  of  Congress,  in  which  our 
interests  will  be  totally  neglected.  Every  man  must  be  con- 
vinced of  the  importance  of  the  first  acts  and  regulations, 
as  they  will  probably  give  a  tone  to  the  policy  of  ages  yet  to 
come;  and  this  scheme  will  add  greatly  to  the  influence  of 
the  Eastern  States,  and  proportionably  diminish  the  power 
and  interests. of  the  Southern  States. 

The  gentleman  says  he  has  a  project  in  his  pocket,  which, 
he  risks  his  life,  will  induce  the  other  states  to  give  us  a  share 
of  the  general  impost.  I  am  fully  satisfied,  sir,  this  project 
will  not  answer  the  purpose,  and  the  forfeiture  of  his  life  will 
be  no  compensation  for  irretrievable  public  loss.  Every 
man  who  knows  the  resources  of  our  commerce,  and  our 
situation,  will  be  clearly  convinced  that  the  project  cannot 
succeed.  The  whole  produce  of  our  duties,  both  by  land  and 
water,  is  very  trifling.  For  several  years  past,  it  has  not  ex- 
ceeded £10,000  of  our  own  paper  money.  It  will  not  lie 
more  —  probably  less — if  we  were  out  of  the  Union.  The 
whole  proportion  of  this  state  of  the  public  debts,  except  this 
mere  pittance,  must  be  raised  from  the  people  by  direct  and 
immediate  taxation. 

Spescer.]  north  CAROLINA.  239 

But  the  fact  is,  sir,  it  cannot  be  raised,  because  it  cannoc 
be  paid ;  and  without  sharing  in  the  general  impost,  we  shall 
never  discharge  our  quota  of  the  federal  debt  What  does 
he  offer  the  other  states  ?  The  poor  pitUmce  I  have  men- 
tioned. Can  we  suppose  Congress  so  lost  to  every  sense  of 
duty,  interest,  and  justice  ?  Would  their  constituents  permit 
them  to  put  their  hands  into  their  pockets  to  pay  our  debts  ? 
We  have  no  equivalent  to  give  them  for  it.  As  several 
powerful  states  have  proposed  amendments,  they  will,  no 
doubt,  be  supported  with  zeal  and  perseverance,  so  that  it  is 
not  probable  that  the  object  of  amendments  will  be  lost. 
We  may  struggle  on  for  a  few  years,  and  render  ourselves 
wretched  and  contemptible ;  but  we  must  at  last  come  into 
the  Union  on  their  terms,  however  humiliating  they  may  be. 
The  projeet  on  the  table  is  little  better  tiian  an  absolute  re- 
jection, and  is  neither  rational  nor  politic,  as  it  cannot  pro- 
mote the  end  proposed. 

Mr.  LOCKE,  in  reply  to  Mr.  Davie,  expressed  some  ap- 
prehensions that  the  Constitution,  if  adopted  as  it  then  stood, 
would  render  the  people  poor  and  miserable.  He  thought  it 
would  be  very  productive  of  expenses.  The  advantages  of 
the  impost  he  considered  as  of  little  consequence,  as  he 
thought  all  the  money  raised  that  way,  and  more,  would  be 
swept  away  by  courtly  parade  —  the  emoluments  of  the  Pres- 
ident, and  other  members  of  the  government,  the  Supreme 
Court,  &c.  These  expenses  would*  double  the  impost,  in 
his  opinion.  They  would  render  the  states  bankrupt. 
The  imposts,  he  imagined,  would  be  inconsiderable.  The 
people  of  America  began  to  import  less  foreign  frippery. 
Every  wise  planter  was  fond  of  home  manufacture;  The 
Northern  States  minufacturod  considerably,  and  he  thought 
manufactures  would  increase  diiily.  He  thought  a  previous 
ratification  dangerous.  The  worst  that  could  happen  would 
be,  that  we  should  be  thrown  out  of  the  Union.  He  would 
rather  that  shoild  be  the  case,  than  embrace  a  tyrannical 
government,  and  give  away  our  rights  and  privileges.  He 
was  therefore  determined  to  vote  for  the  resolutions  of  the 
gentleman  from  Halifax. 

Mr.  SPENCER  observed  that,  if  the  conduct  of  North 
Carolina  would  be  immodest  and  dictatorial  in  proposing 
amendments,  and  if  it  was  proposing  a  constitution  to  the 
other  states,  he  was  sure  the  other  states,  who  had  proposed 
the  same  s^meodments^  were  equally  guilty  of  immodesty  and 

240  DEBATES.  [Davib. 

dictating  a  constitution  to  the  other  states;  the  only  differ- 
ence being,  that  this  state  does  not  adopt  previously.  The 
gentleman  had  objections  to  his  legal  maxims,  and  said  they 
were  not  politic.  He  would  be  extremely  sorry,  he  said,  if 
the  maxims  of  justice  should  not  take  place  in  politics. 
Were  this  to  be  the  case,  there  could  be  no  faith  put  in  any 
compact.  He  thought  the  comparison  of  the  state  to  a  beg* 
gar  was  a  degradation  of  it,  and  insisted  on  the  propriety  of 
his  own  comparison,  which  he  thought  obvious  to  any  one. 
He  acknowledged  that  an  exclusion  from  the  Union  would 
be  a  most  unhappy  circumstance  ;  but  he  had  no  idea  that 
it  would  be  the  case.  As  this  mode  of  proceeding  would 
hasten  the  amendments,  he  could  not  but  vote  for  it. 

Mr.  JONES  defined  the  word  modesty  by  contrasting  it 
with  its  antagonist,  impudence.  The  gentleman  found  fault 
with  the  observation,  that  this  was  the  most  decent  and  best 
way  of  obtaining  amendments.  If  gentlemen  would  propose 
a  more  eligible  method,  he  would  consent  to  that.  He  said 
the  gentleman  had  reviled  the  state  by  his  comparison,  and 
must  have  hurt  the  feelings  of  every  gentleman  in  the  house. 
He  had  no  apprehension  that  the  other  states  would  refuse 
to  admit  them  into  the  Union,  when  they  thought  proper  to 
come  in.  It  was  their  interest  to  admit  them.  He  asked 
if  a  beggar  would  refuse  a  boon,  though  it  were  but  a  shilling ; 
or  if  twelve  m(»n,  struggling  under  a  heavy  load,  would  refuse 
the  assistance  of  a  thirteenth  man. 

A  desultory  conversation  now  took  place. 

Mr.  DAVIE  hoped  they  would  not  take  up  the  whole 
collectively,  but  that  the  proposed  amendments  would  be 
considered  one  by  one.  Some  other  gentlemen  expressed 
the  same  desire. 

Many  other  gentlemen  thought  the  resolution  very  proper  as  it  stood. 

The  question  being  put,  the  resolution  was  agreed  to  by  a  great  ma- 
jority of  the  committee. 

It  was  then  resolved  that  the  committee  should  rise.  Mr.  President 
resumed  the  chair,  and  Mr.  Kenan  reported,  from  the  committee  of  the 
whole  Convention,  that  the  committee  had  again  had  the  Constitution 
proposed  for  the  future  government  of  I  he  United  States  under  consider- 
ation, and  had  come  to  a  resolution  thereupon ;  which  he  read  in  his 
place,  and  afterwards  delivered  in  at  the  clerk's  table. 

Ordered,  That  the  said  report  lie  on  the  table  until  to-morrow  moni- 
mg,  9  o'clock ;  to  which  time  the  house  adjourned. 

Friday,  August  1,   1788 

The  Convention  met  according  to  adjournment. 


Mr.  IREDELL.  Mr.  President :  1  believe,  sir,  all  de- 
bate is  now  at  an  end.  It  is  useless  to  contend  any  longer 
against  a  majority  that  is  irresistible.  We  submit,  with  *lie 
deference  that  becomes  us,  to  the  decision  of  a  majority ;  but 
my  friends  and  myself  are  anxious  that  something  may  ap- 

rsar  on  the  Journal  to  show  our  sentiments  on  the  subject, 
have  therefore  a  resolution  in  my  hand  to  offer,  not  with  a 
view  of  creating  any  debate,  (for  I  know  it  will  be  instantly 
rejected,)  but  merely  that  it  may  be  entered  on  the  Journal^ 
with  the  yeas  and  nays  taken  upon  it,  in  order  that  our  con- 
stituents and  the  world  may  know  what  our  opinions  really 
were  on  this  important  occasion.  We  prefer  this  to  the 
exceptionable  mode  of  a  protest,  which  might  increase  the* 
spirit  of  party  animosity  among  the  people  of  this  country, 
which  is  an  event  we  wish  to  prevent,  if  possible.  1  there 
fore,  sir,  have  the  honor  of  moving — 

*^*  That  the  consideration  of  the  report  of  the  committee  be  postponed 
in  order  to  take  up  the  consideration  of  the  following  resolution." 

Mr.  IREDELL  then  read  the  resolution  in  his  place,  and 
afterwards  delivered  it  in  at  the  clerk's  table,  and  his  motion 
was  seconded  by  Mr.  JOHN  SKINNER. 

Mr.  JOSEPH  M'DOWALL,  and  several  other  gentle 
men,   most   strongly  objected  against  the  propriety  of  thia 
motion.     They  thought  it  improper,  unprecedented,  and  a 
great  contempt  of  the  voice  of  the  majority. 

Mr.  IREDELL  replied,  that  he  thought  it  perfectly  regu 
lar,  and  by  no  means  a  contempt  of  the  majority.  The  sole 
intention  of  it  was  to  show  the  opinion  of  the  minority, 
which  could  not,  in  any  other  manner,  he  so  properly  done 
They  wished  to  justify  themselves  to  their  constituents,  and 
the  people  at  large  would  judge  between  the  merits  of  the 
two  propositions.  They  wished  also  to  avoid,  if  possible,  the 
disagreeable  alternative  of  a  protest.  This  being  the  first 
time  he  ever  had  the  honor  of  being  a  member  of  a  repre- 
sentative body,  he  did  not  solely  confide  in  his  own  judg- 
ment, as  to  the  proper  manner  of  bringing  his  resolution 
forward,  but  had  consulted  a  very  respectable  and  experi- 
enced member  of  that  house,  who  recommended  this  method 
to  him ;  and  he  well  knew  it  was  conformable  to  a  frequent 
practice  in  Congress,  as  he  had  observed  by  their  Journals. 
Each  member  had  an  equal  right  to  make  a  motion,  and  if 
seconded,  a  vote  ought  to  be  taken  upon  it ;  and  he  trusted 

VOL.  IV-  31  21 

Z42  DEBATES.  [Datir. 

the  majority  would  not  be  so  arbitrary  as  to  prevent  them  from 
taking  this  method  to  deliver  their  sentiments  to  the  world. 

He  was  supported  by  Mr.  MACLA'INE  and  Mr. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  and  Mr.  SPENCER  insisted  on 
lis  being  irregular,  and  said  they  might  protest.  Mr.  Jones 
said,  there  never  was  an  example  of  the  kind  before ;  that 
such  a  practice  did  not  prevail  in  Congress  when  he  was  a 
member  of  it,  and  he  well  knew  no  such  practice  had  ever 
prevailed  in  the  Assembly. 

Mr.  DAVIE  said,  he  was  sorry  that  gentlemen  should  not 
deal  fairly  and  liberally  with  one  another.  He  declared  it 
was  perfectly  parliamentary,  and  the  usual  practice  in  Con- 
gress. They  were  in  possession  of  the  motion,  and  could 
not  get  rid  of  it  without  taking  a  vote  upon  it.  It  was  in 
the  nature  of  a  previous  question.  He  declared  that  nothing 
hurt  his  feelings  so  much  as  the  blind  tyranny  of  a  dead 

After  a  warm  discussion  on  this  point  by  several  gentle- 
men on  both  sides  of  the  house,  it  was  at  length  intimated  to 
Mr.  Iredell,  by  Mr.  Spaight,  across  the  house,  that  Mr.  Le- 
noir, and  some  other  gentlemen  of  the  majority,  wished  he 
would  withdraw  his  motion  for  the  present,  on  purpose  that 
the  resolution  of  the  committee  might  be  first  entered  on 
the  Journal,  which  had  not  been  done ;  and  afterwards  his 
motion  might  be  renewed.  Mr.  Iredell  declared  he  would 
readily  agree  to  this,  if  the  gentleman  who  had  seconded  him 
would,  desiring  the  house  to  remember  that  he  only  withdrew 
his  motion  for  that  reason,  and  hoped  he  should  have  leave 
to  introduce  it  afterwards  ;  which  seemed  to  be  understood. 
He  accordingly,  with  the  consent  of  Mr.  Skinner,  withdrew 
his  niotion  ;  and  the  resolution  of  the  committee  of  the  whole 
house  was  then  read,  and  ordered  to  be  entered  on  the  Jour- 
nal. The  resolution  was  accordingly  read  and  entered,  as 
follows,  viz. :  — 

•*  Resolved,  That  a  declaration  of  rights,  asserting  and  securing  trcnn 
encroachment  the  great  principles  of  civil  and  religious  liberty,  and  the 
unalienable  rights  of  the  people,  together  with  amendments  to  the  most 
ambiguous  and  exceptionable  parts  of  the  said  Constitution  of  govern- 
ment, ought  to  be  laid  before  Congress,  and  the  convention  of  the  states 
that  sh;ill  or  may  be  called  for  the  purpose  of  amending  the  said  Constitu* 
lion,  for  their  consideration,  previous  to  the  ratification  of  the  Constitu- 
liou  afnresaid  en  the  part  of  the  state  of  North  Carolina." 



"  1.  That  there  are  certain  natural  rights,  of  which  men,  when  they 
form  a  social  compact,  cannot  deprive  or  divest  their  posterity,  among 
which  are  the  enjoyment  of  life  and  liberty,  with  the  means  of  acquiring, 
possessing,  and  protecting  property,  and  pursuing  and  obtaining  liappi- 
ness  and  safety. 

'*  2.  That  all  power  is  naturally  vested  in,  and  consequently  derived 
from,  the  people ;  that  magistrates,  therefore,  are  their  trustees  and  agents, 
and  at  all  times  amenable  to  them. 

•*  3.  That  government  ought  to  be  instituted  for  the  common  benefit, 
protection,  and  security,  of  the  people ;  and  that  the  doctrine  of  non- 
resistance  against  arbitrary  power  and  oppression  is  absurd,  slavish,  and 
destructive  to  the  good  and  happiness  of  mankind. 

'*  4.  That  no  man  or  set  of  men  are  entitled  to  exclusive  or  separate 
public  emoluments  or  privileges  from  the  community,  but  in  consideration 
of  public  services,  which  not  being  descendible,  neither  ought  the  offices 
of  magistrate,  legislator,  or  judge,  or  any  other  public  office,  to  be  hered- 

**  5.  That  the  legislative,  executive,  and  judiciary  powers  of  govern- 
ment should  be  separate  and  distinct,  and  that  the  members  of  the  two 
first  may  be  restrained  from  oppression  by  feeling  and  participating  the 
public  burdens :  they  should,  at  fixed  periods,  be  reduced  to  a  private 
station,  return  into  the  mass  of  the  people,  and  the  vacancies  be  supplied 
by  certain  and  regular  elections,  in  which  all  or  any  part  of  the  former 
members  to  be  eligible  or  ineligible,  as  the  rules  of  the  constitution  of 
government  and  the  laws  shall  direct. 

"  6.  That  elections  of  representatives  in  the  legislature  ought  to  be 
free  and  frequent,  and  all  men  having  sufficient  evidence  of  permanent 
common  interest  with,  and  attachment  to,  the  community,  ought  to  have 
the  right  of  suffrage  ;  and  no  aid,  charge,  tax,  or  fee,  can  be  set,  raled, 
or  levied,  upon  the  people  without  their  own  consent,  or  that  of  their  rep- 
resentatives so  elected ;  nor  can  they  be  bound  by  any  law  to  which  they 
have  not  in  like  manner  assented  for  the  public  good. 

"  7.  That  all  power  of  suspending  laws,  or  the  execution  of  laws,  by 
?my  authority,  without  the  consent  of  the  representatives  of  the  people 
iu  the  legislature,  is  injurious  to  their  rights,  and  ought  not  to  be  ex- 

*'  8.  Thnt,  in  all  capital  and  criminal  prosecutions,  a  man  hath  a  right 
to  demand  the  cause  and  nature  of  his  accusation,  to  be  confronted  with 
the  accusers  and  witnesses,  to  call  for  evidence,  and  be  allowed  counsel 
in  his  favor,  and  a  fair  and  speedy  trial  by  an  impartial  jury  of  his  vici- 
nage, without  whose  unanimous  consent  he  cannot  be  found  guilty,  (except 
in  the  government  of  the  land  and  naval  forces  ;)  nor  can  he  be  compelled 
to  give  evidence  against  himself. 

*'9.  That  no  freeman  ouorht  to  be  taken,  imprisoned,  or  disseized  ol 
his  freehold,  liberties,  privileges,  or  franchises,  or  outlawed  or  exiled,  or 
in  any  manner  destroyed,  or  deprived  of  his  life,  liberty,  or  property,  but 
by  the  law  of  the  land. 

"  10.  That  every  freeman,  restrained  of  his  liberty,  is  entitled  to  a 
remedy  to  inquire  into  the  lawfulness  thereof,  and  to  remove  the  aamfl 
if  ani awful ;  and  that  such  remedy  ought  not  to  be  denied  nor  delayed. 
11     That,  in  controversies  respecting  property,  and  in  suits  between 




man  and  rjan,  the  aricient  trial  by  jury  is  one  of  the  greatest  secutities 
to  the  lights  of  the  people,  and  ought  to  remain  sacred  and  inviolable. 

**  12.  That  every  freeman  ought  to  find  a  certain  remedy,  by  recourse 
\p  the  lawSy  for  all  injuries  and  wrongs  he  may  receive  in  his  pertioa,  prop* 
erty,  or  character ;  he  ought  to  obtain  right  and  justice  freely  without 
8fde,  completely  and  without  denial,  promptly  and  without  delay ;  and  that 
all  establishments  or  regulations  contravening  these  rights  are  oppressive 
^d  unjust. 

**  13.  That  excessive  bail  ought  not  to  be  required,  nor  excessive  fines 
imposed,  nor  cruel  and  unusual  punishments  inflicted. 

**  14.  That  every  freeman  has  a  right  to  be  secure  from  all  unreasona- 
ble searches  and  seizures  of  his  person,  his  papers  and  property  ;  all  war- 
rantSy  therefore,  to  search  suspected  places,  or  to  apprehend  any  suspected 
person,  without  specially  naming  or  describing  the  place  or  person,  are 
dangerous,  and  ought  not  to  be  granted. 

''  15.  That  the  people  have  a  right  peaceably  to  assemble  together,  to 
Qoqsult  for  the  common  good,  or  to  instruct  their  representatives ;  and 
Otat  every  freeman  has  a  right  to  petition  or  apply  to  the  legislature  for 
redress  of  grievances. 

*'  16.  That  the  people  have  a  right  to  freedom  of  speech,  and  of.  wri 
ting  and  publishing  their  sentiments ;  that  freedom  of  the  press  is  one  of 
t)ie  greatest  bulwarks  of  liberty,  and  ought  not  to  be  violated. 

**  17.  That  the  people  have  a  right  to  keep  and  bear  arms ;  that  a  well- 
regulated  militia,  composed  of  the  body  of  the  people,  trained  to  arms,  it 
tne  proper,  natural,  and  safe  defence  of  a  free  state ;  that  standing  armies^ 
in  time  of  peace,  are  dangerous  to  liberty,  and  therefore  ought  to  be  avoid* 
ed,  as  far  as  the  circumstances  and  protection  of  the  community  will  ad> 
mit ;  and  that,  in  all  cases,  the  military  should  be  under  strict  sqbordina* 
lion  to,  and  governed  by,  the  civil  power. 

**  18.  That  no  soldier,  in  time  of  peace,  ought  to  be  quartered  in  any 
iiouse  without  the  consent  of  the  owner,  and  in  time  of  war,  in  such  man- 
ner only  as  the  laws  direct 

**  19.  That  any  person  religiously  scrupulous  of  bearing  arms  ought  to 
be  exempted,  upon  payment  of  an  equivalent  to  employ  another  to  bear 
arms  in  his  stead. 

"  20.  That  religion,  or  the  duty  which  we  owe  to  our  Creator,  and  the 
manner  of  discharging  it,  can  be  directed  only  by  reason  and  conviction, 
not  by  force  or  violence ;  and  therefore  all  men  have  an  equal,  natural, 
and  unalienable  right  to  the  free  exercise  of  religion,  according  to  the 
clictates  of  conscience ;  and  that  no  particular  religious  sect  or  society 
Qught  to  be  favored  or  established  by  law  in  preference  to  others." 


•*  i.  That  each  state  in  the  Union  shall  respectively  retain  every  power, 
jurisdiction,  and  right,  which  is  not  by  this  Constitution  delegated  to  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States,  or  to  the  departments  of  the  federal  gov- 

"  2.  That  there  shall  be  one  representative  for  every  thirty  thousand, 
according  to  the  enumeration  or  census  mentioned  in  the  Constitution, 
unti\  the  who!e  number  of  representatives  amounts  to  two  hundred;  afler 
which  that  nuiptx^r  shall  be  continued  or  increased  as  Congress  shall  di- 

NOarH  CAROLINA.  245 

rect,  apon  the  principles  fixed  in  the  Constitntion,  by  apportioning  the 
representatives  of  each  state  to  some  greater  number  of  the  people,  from 
time  to  time,  as  the  population  increases. 

**  3.  When  .Congress  shall  lay  direct  taxes  or  excises,  they  shall  imfn6- 
diately  inform  the  executive  power  of  each  state  of  the  quota  of  such  state, 
according  to  the  census  herein  directed,  which  is  proposed  to  be  thereby 
raised ;  and  if  the  legislature  of  any  state  shall  pass  any  law  which  shall 
be  effectual  for  raising  such  quota  at  the  time  required  by  Congress,  the 
taxes  and  excises  laid  by  Congress  shall  not  be  collected  in  such  state. 

"  4.  That  the  members  of  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives 
shall  be  ineligible  to,  and  incapable  of  holding,  any  civil  office  under  the 
authority  of  the  United  States,  during  the  time  for  which  they  shall  re- 
spectively be  elected. 

"  5.  That  the  Journals  of  the  proceedings  of  the  Senate  and  House  of 
Representatives  shall  be  published  at  least  once  in  every  year,  except  such 
parts  thereof  relating  to  treaties,  alliances,  or  military  operations,  ks  m 
their  judi^ment  require  secrecy. 

"  6.  That  a  regular  statement  and  account  of  receipts  and  expenditure^ 
of  alf  public  moneys  shall  be  published  at  least  once  in  every  year. 

**  7.  That  no  commercial  treaty  shall  be  ratified  without  the  concur- 
rence of  two  thirds  of  the  whole  number  of  the  members  of  the  Senate. 
And  no  treaty,  ceding,  contracting,  restraining,  or  suspending,  the  terri- 
torial rights  or  claims  of  the  United  States,  or  any  of  them,  or  their,  ot* 
any  of  their,  rights  or  claims  of  fishing  in  the  American  seas,  or  navigating 
the  American  rivers,  shall  he  made,  but  in  cases  of  the  most  urgent  and 
extreme  necessity ;  nor  shall  any  such  treaty  be  ratified  without  the  con- 
currence of  three  fourths  of  the  whole  number  of  the  members  of  both 
houses  respectively. 

**S.  That  no  navigation  law,  or  law  regulating  commerce,  shall  be 
passed  without  the  consent  of  two  thirds  of  the  members  present  itl  both 

"  9.  That  no  standing  army  or  regular  troops  shall  be  raised  or  kept  u^ 
in  time  of  peace,  without  the  consent  of  two  thirds  of  the  members  present 
in  both  houses. 

"  lO.  Thnt  no  soldier  shall  be  enlisted  for  any  longer  term  than  four 
fears,  except  in  time  of  war,  and  then  for  no  longer  term  than  the  continu- 
ance of  the  war. 

"  11.  That  each  state  respectively  shall  have  the  power  to  provide  for 
organizing,  arming,  and  disciplining  its  own  militia,  whensoever  Congress 
■hall  omit  or  neglect  to  provide  for  the  same ;  that  the  militia  shall  not  be 
labject  to  martial  law,  except  when  in  actual  service  in  time  of  war,  in- 
vasion, or  rebellion ;  and  when  not  in  the  actual  service  of  the  United 
States,  shall  be  subject  only  to  such  fines,  penalties,  and  punishments,  ai 
shall  be  directed  or  inflicted  by  the  laws  of  its  own  state. 

**  12.  That  Congress  shall  not  declare  any  state  to  be  in  rebellion,  with- 
out the  consent  of  at  least  two  thirds  of  all  the  members  present  in  botA 

•*  IS.  That  the  exclusive  power  of  legislation  given  to  Congress  over  th^ 
federal  town  atid  its  adjacent  district,  and  other  places  purchased  or  to 
be  purchased  by  Congress  of  any  of  the  states,  shall  extend  only  to  such 
reg'ilations  as  respect  the  police  and  good  erovernment  thereof. 

*•  14.  That  no  person  shall  be  capable  df  being  President  of  the  United 
States  Ibr  more  tnah  eight  yidars  in  any  term  of  f^fleen  years. 

246  DEBATES. 

**  15.  That  the  judicial  power  of  the  United  States  shall  be  ested  in 
one  Supreme  Court,  and  in  such  courts  of  admiralty  as  Congress  may  from 
time  to  time  ordain  and  establish  in  any  of  the  different  states.  The  judi- 
cial power  shall  extend  to  all  cases  in  law  and  equity  arising  under  trea- 
ties made,  or  which  shall  be  made,  under  the  authority  of  the  United  States ; 
to  all  cases  affecting  ambassadors,  other  foreign  ministers,  and  consuls ; 
to  all  cases  of  admiralty  and  maritime  jurisdiction ;  to  controversies  to 
which  the  United  States  shall  be  a  party  ;  to  controversies  between  two  or 
more  states,  and  between  parties  claiming  lands  under  the  grants  of  differ- 
ent states.  In  all  cases  affecting  ambassadors,  other  foreign  ministers,  and 
consuls,  and  those  in  which  a  state  shall  be  a  party,  the  Supreme  Court 
shall  have  original  jurisdiction.  In  all  other  cases  before  mentioned,  the 
Supreme  Court  shall  have  appellate  jurisdiction  as  to  matters  of  law  only, 
except  in  cases  of  equity,  and  of  admiralty  and  maritime  jurisdiction,  in 
which  the  Supreme  Court  shall  have  appellate  jurisdiction  both  as  to  law 
and  fact,  with  such  exceptions,  and  under  such  regulations,  as  the  Con- 
gress shall  make:  but  the  judicial  power  of  the  United  States  shall  extend 
to  no  case  where  the  cause  of  action  shall  have  originated  before  the  rati- 
fication of  this  Constitution,  except  in  disputes  between  states  about  dtheir 
territory,  disputes  between  persons  claiming  lands  under  the  grants  of  dif- 
ferent states,  and  suits  for  debts  due  to  the  United  States. 

**  16.  That,  in  criminal  prosecutions,  no  man  shall  be  restrained  in  the 
exercise  of  the  usual  and  accustomed  right  of  challenging  or  excepting  to 
the  jury. 

"  17.  That  Congress  shall  not  alter,  modify,  or  interfere  in,  the  times, 
places,  or  manner,  of  holding  elections  for  senators  and  representatives,  or 
either  of  them,  except  when  the  legislature  of  any  state  shall  neglect, 
refuse,  or  be  disabled,  by  invasion  or  rebellion,  to  prescribe  the  same. 

**  18.  That  those  clauses  which  declare  that  Congress  shall  not  exercise 
certain  powers  be  not  interpreted  in  any  manner  whatsoever  to  extend 
the  power  of  Congress;  but  that  they  be  construed  either  as  making  ex- 
ceptions to  the  specified  powers,  where  this  shall  be  the  case,  or  otherwise 
as  inserted  merely  for  greater  caution. 

"  19.  That  the  laws  ascertaining  the  compensation  of  senators  and  rep- 
resentatives for  their  services,  be  postponed  in  their  operation  until  after 
the  election  of  representatives  immediately  succeedinir  the  passing  thereof, 
that  excepted  which  shall  first  be  passed  on  the  subject. 

"20.  That  some  tribunal  other  than  the  Senate  be  provided  for  trying 
impeachments  of  senators. 

**  21.  That  the  salary  of  a  judge  shall  not  be  increased  or  diminished  dur- 
ing his  continuance  in  office,  otherwise  than  by  general  regulations  of  salary, 
which  may  take  place  on  a  revision  of  the  subject  at  stated  periods  of  not 
less  than  seven  years,  to  commence  from  the  time  such  salaries  shall  be 
first  ascertained  l)y  Congress. 

"  22.  That  Congress  erect  no  company  of  merchants  with  exclusive  ad- 
vantages of'coinmerce. 

"23.  That  no  treaties  which  shall  be  directly  opposed  to  the  existing 

laws  of  the  United  States  in  Congress  assembled  shall  be  valid  until  such 

aws  shall  be  repealed,  or  made  conformable  to  such  treaty;  nor  shall  any 

treaty  be  valid  which  is  contradictory  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United 


"24.  That  the  latter  part  of  the  5th  paragraph  of  the  9th  section  of  the 
1st  article  be  altered  to  read  thus  :  '  Nor  shall  vessels  bound  to  a  particu 

Iredelu]  north  CAROLINA.  247 

lar  state  be  obliged  to  enter  or  pay  duties  in  any  other ;  nor,  when  bounu 
from  any  one  of  the  states,  be  obliged  to  clear  in  another/ 

"  25.  Th  it  Congress  shall  not,  directly  or  indirectly,  either  by  them- 
selves or  through  the  judiciary,  interfere  with  any  one  of  the  states  in  the 
redemption  of  paper  money  already  emitted  and  now  in  circulation,  or  in 
liquidating  and  discharging  the  public  securities  of  any  one  of  the  states, 
hut  each  and  every  state  shall  have  the  exclusive  right  of  making  such  lawn 
and  regulations,  for  the  above  purposes,  as  they  shall  think  proper. 

'*  26.  That  Congress  shall  nut  introduce  foreign  troops  into  the  United 
States  without  the  consent  of  two  thirds  of  the  members  present  of  both 

Mr.  SPENCER  then  moved  that  the  report  of  the  com- 
mittee be  concurred  with,  and  was  seconded  by. Mr.  J. 

Mr.  IREDELL  moved  that  the  consideration  of  that  mo- 
tion he  postponed,  in  order  to  take  into  consideration  the  fol- 
lowing resolution : 

[Which  resolution  was  the  same  he  introduced  before,  and 
which  he  afterwards,  in  substance,  moved  by  way  of  amend- 

This  gave  rise  to  a  very  warm  altercation  on  both  sides, 
during  which  the  house  was  in  great  confusion.  Many  gen- 
tlemen in  the  majority  (particularly  Mr.  WILLIE  JONES) 
strongly  contended  against  the  propriety  of  the  motion. 
Several  gentlemen  in  the  minority  resented,  in  strong  terms, 
the  arbitrary  attempt  of  the  majority  (as  they  termed  it)  to 
suppress  their  sentiments ;  and  Mr.  Sr  AIGHT,  in  particu- 
lar, took  notice,  with  great  indignation,  of  the  motion  made 
to  concur  with  the  committee,  when  the  gentleman  from 
Edenton  appeared  in  some  measure  to  have  had  the  faith  of 
the  house  that  he  should  have  an  opportunity  to  renew  his 
motion,  which  he  had  withdrawn  at  the  request  of  some  of 
the  majority  themselves.  Mr.  WHITMILL  HILL  spoke 
with  great  warmth,  and  declared  that,  in  his  opinion,  if  the 
majority  persevered  in  their  tyrannical  attempt,  the  minority 
should  secede. 

Mr.  WILLIE  JONES  still  contended  that  the  motion 
was  altogether  irregular  and  improper,  and  made  a  motion 
calculated  to  show  that  such  a  motion,  made  and  seconded 
under  the  circumstances  in  which  it  had  been  introduced, 
was  not  entitled  to  be  entered  on  the  Journal.  His  motion, 
being  seconded,  wis  carried  by  a  great  majority.  The  yeas 
and  nayb  were  moved  for,  and  were  taking,  when  Mr.  IRE- 
DELL arose,  and  said  he  was  sensible  of  the  irregularity  ht> 

2i8  DEBATES.  [Irsdelu 

was  guilty  of,  and  hoped  he  should  be  excuseo  for  it,  but  it 
arose  from  his  desire  of  saving  the  house  trouble ;  that  Mr. 
Jones  (he  begged  pardon  for  naming  him)  had  proposed  an 
expedient  to  him,  with  which  he  should  be  perfectly  satis- 
fied, if  the  house  approved  of  it,  as  it  was  indifferent  to  him 
what  was  the  mode,  if  his  object  in  substance  was  obtained. 
The  method  proposed  was,  that  the  motion  for  concurrence 
should  be  withdrawn,  and  his  resolution  should  be  moved  by 
way  of  an  amendment.  If  the  house,  therefore,  approved  of 
this  method,  and  the  gentlemen  who  had  moved  and  sec- 
( nded  the  motion  would  agree  to  withdraw  it,  he  hoped  it 
would  be  deemed  unnecessary  to  proceed  with  the  yeas  and 

Mr.  NATHAN  BRYAN  said,  the  gentleman  treated  the 
majority  with  contempt.  Mr.  IREDELL  declared  he  had 
no  such  intention  ;  hut  as  the  yeas  and  nays  were  taken  on  a 
difference  between  both  sides  of  the  house,  which  he  hoped 
might  be  accommodated,  he  thought  he  might  be  excused 
for  the  liberty  he  had  taken. 

Mr.  SPENCER  and  Mr.  M'DOWALL,  after  some  ob- 
servations not  distinctly  heard,  accordingly  withdrew  their 
motion  ;  and  it  was  agreed  that  the  yeas  and  nays  should  not 
be  taken,  nor  the  motion  which  occasioned  them  entered  on 
the  Journal.   Mr.  IREDELL  then  moved  as  follows,  viz. :  — 

That  the  report  of  the  committee  be  amended,  by  striking 
out  all  the  words  of  the  said  report  except  the  two  first,  viz. : 
"  Resolved,  That,"  and  that  the  following  words  be  inserted 
in  their  room,  viz. :  —  "  this  Convention,  having  fully  delib- 
erated on  the  Constitution  proposed  for  the  future  govern- 
ment of  the  United  States  of  America  by  the  Federal  Con- 
vention lately  held,  at  Philadelphia,  on  the  17th  day  of  Sep- 
tember last,  and  having  taken  into  their  serious  and  solemn 
consideration  the  present  critical  situation  of  America,  which 
induces  them  to  be  of  opinion  that,  though  certain  amend- 
ments to  the  said  Constitution  may  be  wished  for,  yet  that 
those  amendments  should  be  proposed  subsequent  to  the  rati- 
fication on  the  part  of  this  state,  and  not  previous  to  it :  — 
they  do,  therefore,  on  liehalf  of  the  state  of  North  Carolina, 
and  the  good  people  thereof,  and  by  virtue  of  the  authority 
to  them  delegated,  ratify  the  said  Constitution  on  the  part  of 
this  state ;  and  they  do  at  the  same  time  recommend  that, 
as  early  as  possible,  the  following  amendments  to  the  8a*d 


Constitution  may  be  proposed  for  the  consideration  and 
adoption  of  the  several  states  in  the  Union,  in  one  of  the 
»uodes  prescribed  by  the  6th  article  thereof:  "  — 


"1.  Each  state  in  the  Union  shall  respectively  retain  every  power, 
jurisdiction,  and  right,  which  is  not  by  this  Constitation  delegated  to  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States,  or  to  the  departments  of  the  general  gov- 
ernment; nor  shall  the  said  Congress,  nor  any  department  of  the  said 
government,  exercise  any  act  of  authority  over  any  individual  in  any  of 
the  said  states,  but  such  as  can  be  justified  under  some  power  particularly 
given  in  this  Constitution  ;  but  the  said  Constitution  shall  be  considered 
at  h11  times  a  solemn  instrument,  defining  the  extent  of  their  authority, 
and  the  limits  of  which  they  cannot  rightfully  in  any  instance  exceed. 

**  2.  There  shall  be  one  representative  for  every  thirty  thousand,  ac- 
cording to  the  enumeration  or  census  mentioned  in  the  Constitution,  until 
the  whole  number  of  representatives  amounts  Co  two  hundred  ;  after  which, 
that  number  shall  be  continued  or  increased,  as  Congress  shall  direct,  up- 
on the  principles  fixed  in  the  Constitution,  by  apportioning  the  represent- 
atives of  each  state  to  some  greater  number  of  people,  from  time  to  time, 
as  the  population  increases. 

"  S.  Each  state  respectively  shall  have  the  power  to  provide  for  or- 
ganizing, arming,  and  disciplining,  its  own  militia,  whensoever  Congress 
shall  omit  or  neglect  to  provide  for  the  same.  The  militia  shall  not  be 
subject  to  martial  law,  except  when  in  actual  service  in  time  of  war,  in- 
vasion, or  rebellion  ;  and  when  they  are  not  in  the  actual  service  of  the 
United  States,  they  shall  be  subject  only  to  such  fines,  penalties,  and 
punishments,  as  shall  be  directed  or  inflicted  by  the  laws  of  its  own 

"  4.  The  Congress  shall  not  alter,  modify,  or  interfere  in  the  times, 
places,  or  manner,  of  holding  elections  for  senators  and  representatives, 
or  either  of  them,  except  when  the  legislature  of  any  state  shall  neglect, 
refuse,  or  be  disabled  by  invasion  or  rebellion,  to  prescribe  the  same. 

'*  5.  The  laws  ascertaining  the  compensation  of  senators  and  representa- 
tives, (or  their  services,  shall  be  postponed  in  their  operation  until  afler 
the  election  of  representatives  immediately  succeeding  the  passing  there- 
of; that  excepted  which  shall  first  be  passed  on  the  subject. 

"  6.  Instead  of  the  following  words  in  the  9th  section  of  the  1st  ar- 
licle,  viz.,  '  Nor  shall  vessels  bound  to  or  from  one  state  be  obliged  to 
enter,  clear,  or  pay  duties,  in  another,'  [the  meaning  of  which  is  by  many 
deemed  not  sufficiently  explicit,]  it  is  proposed  that  the  following  shall 
be  substituted  :  '  No  vessel  bound  to  one  state  shall  be  obliged  to  enter 
or  pay  duties,  to  which  such  vessel  may  be  liable  at  any  port  of  entry,  in 
any  other  state  than  that  to  which  such  vessel  is  bound ;  nor  shall  any 
vessel  bound  from  one  state  be  obliged  to  clear,  or  pay  duties  to  which 
such  vessel  shall  be  liable  at  any  port  of  clearance,  in  any  other  state  than 
that  from  which  such  vessel  is  bound.' " 

He  was  seconded  by  Mr.  JOHN  SKINNER. 
Th<»  question  was  then  put,  "  Will  the  Convention  adopi 
VOL.  IV.  32 



that  amendment  or  not  ? "  and  it  was  negatived ;  wliere- 
upon  Mr.  IREDELL  moved  that  the  yeas  and  nays  should 
be  taken,  and  he  was  seconded  by  Mr.  STEELE.  Thev 
were  accordingly  taken,  and  were  as  follows :  — 


His  excellency,  Samuel 

Messrs.  Ja*s  Iredell,    Edmund  Blount, 
Archibald  Maclaine,  Chowan. 

Henry  Abbot, 
Isaac  Gregory, 
Peter  Dauge, 
Charles  Grandy, 
Enoch  Sawyer, 
George  Lucas, 
John  Willis, 

Nathan  Keas, 

John  G.  Blount, 

Thomas  Alderson, 

John  Johnson, 

Andrew  Oliver, 

Goodwin  EUiston, 

Charles  M'Dowall, 

Richard  D.  Spaight,    John  Cade, 

William  J.  Dawson,    Elias  Barnes, 

James  Porterfield,        Neil  Brown, 

Wm.  Barry  GroTe, 

George  Elliott, 

Wallis  Styron, 

William  ohepperd, 

James  Philips, 
John  Humphreys, 
Michael  Payne, 
Charles  Johnston, 
Stephen  Cabarrus, 

James  Winchester, 
William  Stokes, 
Thomas  Stewart, 
Josiah  Collins, 
Thomas  Hines, 
Nathaniel  Jones, 
John  Steele, 
William  R.  Davie, 
Joseph  Reddick, 
James  Gregory, 

Johnston,  President. 

Thomas  Hunter, 

Thomas  Wyns, 
Abraham  Jones, 
John  Eborne, 
James  Jasper, 
Caleb  Forinan, 
Seth  Hovey, 
John  Sloan, 
John  Moore, 
William  Maclaine, 
Nathan  Mayo, 
William  Slade, 
William  M'Kenzie, 
Robert  Erwin, 
John  Lane, 
Thomas  Reading, 
Edward  Everagain, 
Enoch  Rolfe, 
Devotion  Davis, 
William  Skinner, 
Joshua  Skinner, 

Thomas  Heryey, 
John  Skinner, 
Samuel  Harrel, 
Joseph  Leech, 
Wm.  Bridges, 
Wm.  Burden, 
Edmund  Blount, 

Simeon  Spruil, 
David  Tanner, 
Whitmill  Hill, 
Benjamin  Smith, 
John  Sitffreaves, 
Nathaniel  Allen, 
Thomas  Owen, 
George  Wyns, 
David  Perkins, 
Joseph  Fe  rebec, 
Wm.  Ferebee, 
Wm.  Baker, 
Abner  Neale. 



Messrs.  Willie  Jones, 
Samuel  Spencer, 
Lewis  Lanier, 
Thomas  Wade, 
Daniel  Gould, 
James  Bonner, 
Alexius  M.  Foster, 
Lewis  Dupree, 
Thorans  Brown, 
James  Greenlee, 
Joseph  M'Dowall, 
Robert  Miller, 
Benjamin  Williams, 
Richard  Nixon, 
Thomas  Armstrong, 
Alex.  M'Allister, 
Robert  Dickens, 
George  Roberts, 
John  Womack, 
Ambrose  Ramsey, 
James  Anderson, 
Jos.  Stewart, 
Wm.  Vestal, 
Thomas  Evans, 
Thomas  Hardiman, 
Robert  Weakly, 
Wm.  Donnelson, 
Wm.  Dobins, 
Robert  Diggs, 
Bythel  Bell, 
Elisha  Battle, 

Wm.  Fort, 
Etheld.  Gray, 
Wm.  Lancaster, 
Thomas  Sherrod, 
John  Norward, 
Sterling  Dupree, 
Robert  Williams, 
Richard  Moye, 
Arthur  Forbes, 
David  Caldwell, 
Wm.  Groudy, 
Daniel  Gillespie, 
John  Anderson, 
John  Hamilton, 
Thomas  Person, 
Joseph  Taylor, 
Thornton  Yancey, 
Howell  Lewis,  Jun., 
E.  Mitchell, 
George  Moore, 
George  Ledbetter, 
Wm.  Porter, 
Zebedee  Wood, 
Edmund  Waddell, 
James  Galloway, 
J.  Regan, 
Joseph  Winston, 
James  Gains, 
Charles  M'Annelly, 
Absalom  Bostick, 
John  Scott, 

John  Dunkin, 
David  Dodd, 
Curtis  Ivey, 
Lewis  Holmes, 
Richard  Clinton, 
H.  Holmes, 
Robert  Alison, 
James  Stewart, 
John  Tipton, 
John  Macon, 
Thomas  Christmass, 
H.  Monfort, 
Wm.  Taylor, 
James  rfanley, 
Britain  Saunders, 
Wm.  Lenoir, 
R.  Allen, 
John  Brown, 
Joseph  Herndon, 
James  Fletcher, 
Lemuel  Burkit, 
Wm.  Little, 
Thomas  King, 
Nathan  Bryan, 
John  H.  Bryan, 
Edward  Whitty, 
Robert  Alexander, 
James  Johnson, 
John  Cox, 
John  Carrel, 
Cornelius  Doud, 

Thomas  Tysop, 
W.  Martin, 
Thomas  Hunter 

John  Graham, 
Wm.  Loflin, 
Wm.  Kindal, 
Thomas  Ussery, 
Thomas  Butler, 
John  Bentford, 
James  Vaughan, 
Robert  Peebles, 
James  Vinson, 
Wm.  S.  Marnes, 
Howell  Ellin, 
Redman  Bunn, 
John  Bonds, 
David  Pridgen, 
Daniel  Yates, 
Thomas  Johnston, 
John  Spicer, 
A   Tatom, 
Alex.  Mebane, 
Wm.  Mebane, 
Wm.  M'Cauley, 
Wm.  Sheppera, 

Jonathan  Lmley, 
W>att  Hawkins, 
James  Payne, 
John  Graves, 



John  Blair, 
Jotcph  Tipton, 
Wm.  Bethell, 
Abraiiarn  Phillipt, 
John  May, 
Charles  Crallowajr, 
Jaxnefl  Bo«well, 
John  M'AlIister, 
David  Lnoney, 
John  Sharpe, 
Jooeph  Gaitier. 
John  A.  Campoell, 
John  P.  Williams, 
Wm.  Marshall, 
Charles  Robertson, 
James  Gillespie, 

Charles  Ward, 
Wm.  Randal, 
r  lewi  luk  flargcft, 
Richard  M*Kinnie, 
John  Cains, 
Jacob  Leonard, 
Thomas  Carson, 
Richard  Singleton, 
James  Whitside, 
Caleb  Phifer, 
Zachias  Wilson, 
Joseph  Douglass, 
Thomas  Dougan, 
James  Kenan, 
John  Jones, 
Egbert  Haywood, 

Wm.  Wootten, 
John  Branch, 
"Henry  Hill, 
Andrew  Bass, 
Joseph  Boon, 
Wm.  Farmer, 
John  Bryan, 
Edward  Williams, 
Francis  OliTer, 
Matthew  Brooks, 
Griffith  Rutherford, 
Geo  H  Barringer, 
Timo.  Blood  worth, 
Everet  Pcarce, 
Asahel  Rawlins, 
James  Wilson, 

James  Roddy, 
iiaiBMel  Cain, 
B.  Covington, 
J.  M'Dowall,  Jniu 
Durham  Hall, 
Jas   Bloodworthf 
Joel  Ijane, 
James  H  in  ton, 
Thomas  Devane, 
James  Brandon, 
Wm.  Dickson, 
Bur  well  Mooring, 
Matthew  Locke, 
Stokely  Donelsoo. 

Saturday,  August  2,  1786. 

The  Convention  met  according  to  adjournment. 

The  report  of  the  committee  of  the  whole  Convention, 
according  to  order,  was  taken  up  and  read  in  the  same 
words  as  on  yesterday ;  when  it  was  moved  by  Mr.  PER- 
SON, and  seconded  by  Mr.  MACON,  that  the  Convention 
do  concur  therewith,  which  was  objected  to  by  Mr.  A. 

The  question  being  put,  "Will  the  Convention  concur 
with  the  report  of  the  committee  of  the  whole  convention, 
or  not?"  it  was  carried  in  the  aflSrmative ;  whereupon  Mr. 
DAVIE  moved  for  the  yeas  and  nays,  and  was  seconded  by 
Mr.  CABARRUS.  They  were  accordingly  taken ;  and 
those  who  voted  yesterday  against  the  amendment,  voted 
for  concurring  with  the  report  of  the  committee  :  those  who 
voted  in  favor  of  the  amendment,  now  voted  against  a  con- 
currence with  the  report. 

On  motion  of  Mr.  WILLIE  JONES,  and  seconded  by 
Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY,  the  following  resolution  was 
adopted  by  a  large  majority,  viz.:  — 

''Whereas  this  Convention  has  thought  proper  neither  to  ratify  nor 
reject  the  Constitution  proposed  for  the  government  of  the  United  States, 
and  as  Congress  will  proceed  to  act  under  the  said  Constitution,  ten 
states  having  ratified  the  same,  and  probably  lay  an  impost  on  goods  im- 
ported into  the  said  ratifying  states,  — 

"  Resolved,  That  it  be  recommended  to  the  legislature  of  this  state, 
that  whenever  Congress  shall  pass  a  law  for  collecting  an  impost  in  the 
states  aforesaid,  this  state  enact  a  law  for  collecting  a  similar  impost  on 
goods  imported  into  this  state,  and  appropriate  the  money  arising  there- 
from to  the  use  of  Congress/' 

On  the  motion  made  by  Mr.  WILLIE  JONES,  and 
seconded  by  Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY,— 


*  Resolvdf  unanimously,  That  it  be  recommended  to  the  General  A»> 
sembly  to  take  effectual  measures  for  the  redemption  of  the  paper  currency, 
as  speedily  as  may  be,  consistent  with  the  situation  and  circumstances  of 
the  people  of  this  state." 

On  a  motion  made  by  Mr.  WILLIE  JONES,  and  sec- 
onded by  Mr.  JAMES  GALLOWAY,— 

*'  Resolved,  unanimously.  That  the  honorable  the  president  be  requested 
to  transmit  to  Congress,  and  to  the  executives  of  New  Hampshire,  Massa- 
chusetts, Connecticut,  Rhode  Island,  New  York,  New  Jersey,  Pennsyl- 
vania, Delaware,  Maryland,  Virginia,  South  Carolina,  and  Georgia,  a  copy 
of  the  resolution  of  the  committee  of  the  whole  Convention  on  the  subject 
of  the  Constitution  proposed  for  the  government  of  the  United  States,  con- 
curred with  by  this  Convention,  together  with  a  copy  of  the  resolutions  on 
the  subject  of  impost  and  paper  money/' 

The  Convention  afterwards  proceeded  to  the  business  of 
/ixing  the  seat  of  government,  and  on  Monday,  the  4th  of 
August,  adjourned  sine  die. 


m.  TBS 






Housn  OF  Reprb8^ntativbs*     In  the  Legislature^ 
WeoNEBDAT,  January  16,  1788. 

Read  the  proposed  Federal  Constitution,  afler  which  the  house  resolved 
itseJf  into  a  committee  of  the  whole,     Hon.  THOMAS  BEE    in  the 


Hon.  CHARLES  PINCKNEY  (one  of  the  delegates  of 
the  Federal  Convention)  rose  in  bis  place,  and  said  that, 
although  the  principles  and  expediency  of  the  measures  pro- 
posed by  the  late  Convention  will  come  more  properly  into 
discussion  before  another  body,  yet,  as  their  appointment 
originated  with  them,  and  the  legislatures  must  be  the  instru« 
ment  of  submitting  the  plan  to  the  opinion  of  the  people,  it 
became  a  duty  in  their  delegates  to  state  with  conciseness 
the  motives  which  induced  it. 

It  must  be  recollected  that,  upon  the  conclusion  ot  tne 
definitive  treaty,  great  inconveniences  were  experienced,  as 
resulting  from  the  inefficacy  of  the  Confederation.  The 
one  first  and  most  sensibly  felt  was  the  destruction  of  our 
commerce,  occasioned!  by  the  restrictions  of  other  nations, 
whose  policy  it  was  not  in  the  power  of  the  general  govern- 
ment to  counteract.  The  loss  of  credit,  the  inability  in  our 
crtizens  to  pay  taxes,  and  languor  of  government,  were,  as 
they  ever  must  be,  the  certain  consequences  of  the  decay  of 
commerce.  Frequent  and  unsuccessful  attempts  were  made 
by  Congress  to  obtain  the  necessary  powers.     The  statos« 

too,  individually  attempted,  by  navigation  acts  and  othei 


^264  DEBATES.  [Pincknef. 

commercial  provisions,  to  remedy  the  evil.  These,  instead 
of  correcting,  served  but  to  increase  it ;  their  regulations  in- 
terfered not  only  with  each  other,  but,  in  almost  every 
instance,  with  treaties  existing  under  the  authority  of  the 
Union.  Hence  arose  the  necessity  of  some  general  and 
permanent  system,  which  should  at  once  embrace  all  inter- 
ests, and,  by  placing  the  states  upon  firm  and  united  ground, 
enable  them  effectually  to  assert  their  commercial  rights.  Sen- 
sible that  nothing  but  a  concert  of  measures  could  effect  this, 
Virginia  proposed  a  meeting  of  commissioners  at  Annapolis, 
from  the  legislature  of  each  state,  who  should  be  empowered 
to  take  into  consideration  the  commerce  of  the  Union  ;  to 
consider  how  far  a  uniform  system  in  their  commercial  regu- 
lations might  be  necessary  to  their  common  interest ;  and  to 
report  to  the  states  such  an  act  as,  when  unanimously  ratified 
by  them,  would  enable  Congress  effectually  to  provide  for 
the  same.  In  consequence  of  this,  ten  states  appointed 
delegates.  By  accident,  or  otherwise,  they  did  not  attend, 
only  five  states  being  represented.  The  gentlemen  present, 
not  being  a  majority  of  the  Union,  did  not  conceive  it  advi- 
sable to  proceed  ;  but  in  an  address  to  their  constituents, 
which  was  also  transmitted  to  the  other  legislatures,  ac- 
quainted them  with  the  circumstances  of  their  meeting ;  that 
there  appeared  to  them  to  be  other  and  more  material  defects 
in  the  federal  system  than  merely  those  of  commercial  pow- 
ers. That  these,  upon  examination,  might  be  found  greater 
than  even  the  acts  of  their  appointments  implied,  was  at 
least  so  far  probable,  from  the  embarrassments  which  mark 
the  present  state  of  national  affairs,  foreign  and  domestic,  as 
to  merit,  in  their  opinions,  a  deliberate  and  candid  discussion 
in  some  mode  which  would  unite  the  sentiments  and  councils 
of  all  the  states.  They  therefore  sugjrested  the  appointment 
of  another  convention,  under  more  extensive  powers,  for  the 
purpose  of  devising  such  further  provisions  as  should  appear 
to  them  necessary  to  render  the  federal  government  adequate 
to  the  exi":encies  of  the  Union. 

Under  this  recommendation  the  late  Convention  assem- 
bled ;  for  most  of  the  appointments  had  been  made  before 
the  recommendation  of  Congress  was  formed  or  known- 
He  thought  proper  concisely  to  mention  the  manner  of  the 
Convention's  assembling,  merely  to  obviate  an  objection 
which  all  the  opposers  of  the  federal  system  had  used,  viz., 


that,  at  the  time  the  Convention  met,  no  opinion  was  enter- 
tained  of  their   departing  from  the    Confederation  —  that 
merely  the  grant  of  commercial  powers,  and  the  establish- 
ment of  a  federal  revenue,  were  in  agitation  ;  whereas  nothing 
ran  be  more  true,  than  that  its  promoters  had  for  their  object 
a  firm  national  government.     Those  who  had  seriously  con- 
templated the  subject  were  fully   convinced    that   a    total 
r.hange  of  system  was  necessary  —  that,  however  the  repair 
of  the  Confederation  might  for  a  time  avert  the  inconveni- 
<^nces  of  a  dissolutbn,  it  was  impossible  a  government  of 
that  sort  could  long  unite  this  growing  and  extensive  country. 
They  also  thought  that  the  public  mind  was  fully  prepared 
for  the  change,  and  that  no  time  could  be  more  proper  for 
introducing  it  than  the  present  —  that  the  total  want  of  gov- 
ernment,   the   destruction   of  commerce,  of  public  credit, 
private    confidence,    and  national    character,    were   surely 
sufficiently  alarming  to  awaken  their  constituents  to  a  true 
sense  of  their  situation. 

Under  these  momentous  impressions  the  Convention  met, 
when  the  first  question  that  naturally  presented  itself  to  the 
view  of  almost  every  member,  although  it  was  never  formally 
brought  forward,  was  the  formation  of  a  new,  or  the  amend- 
ment of  the  existing  system.  Whatever  might  have  been  the 
opinions  of  a  few  speculative  men,  who  either  did,  or  pre- 
tended to,  confide  more  in  the  virtue  of  the  people  than  pru- 
dence warranted,  Mr.  Pinckney  said  he  would  venture  to  as- 
sert that  the  states  were  unanimous  in  preferring  a  change. 
They  wisely  considered  that,  though  the  Confederation 
might  possess  the  great  outlines  of  a  general  government,  yet 
that  it  was,  in  fact,  nothing  more  than  a  federal  union ;  or, 
strictly  speaking,  a  league  founded  in  paternal  and  persuasive 
principles,  with  nothing  permanent  and  coercive  in  its  con- 
struction, where  the  members  might,  or  might  not,  comply 
with  their  federal  engagements,  as  they  thought  proper  — 
that  no  power  existed  of  raising  supplies  but  by  the  requisi- 
tions or  quotas  on  the  states  —  that  this  defect  had  been  al- 
most fatally  evinced  by  the  experience  of  the  states  for  the 
list  six  or  eight  years,  in  which  not  one  of  them  had  com- 
pletely complied ;  but  a  few  had  even  paid  up  their  specie 
proportions ;  others  very  partially ;  and  some,  he  had  every 
reason  to  Ijelieve,  had  not  to  this  day  contributed  a  shilling 
to  the  common  treasury  since  the  Union  was  formed*     He 

2b6  DEBATES.  [PiNcaNEY 

should  not  go  into  a  detail  of  the  conduct  of  the  states,  or  the 
unfortunate  and  emlmrrassing  situation  to  which  their  inat- 
tention has  reduced  the  Union;  these  have  been  so  often 
and  so  strongly  represented  by  Congress,  that  he  was  sure 
there  could  not  be  a  member  on  the  floor  unacquainted  with 
tliem.  It  was  sufficient  to  remark  that  the  Convention  saw 
and  felt  the  necessity  of  establishing  a  government  upon  dif- 
ferent principles,  which,  instead  of  requiring  the  intervention 
of  thirteen  different  legislatures  l)etween  the  demand  and  the 
compliance,  should  operate  upon  the  people  in  the  first  in- 

He  repeated,  that  the  necessity  of  having  a  government 
which  should  at  once  operate  u\you  the  people,  and  not  upon 
the  states,  was  conceived  to  be  indispensable  by  every  dele- 
gation present ;  that,  however  they  may  have  differed  with 
respect  to  the  quantum  of  power,  no  objection  was  made  to, 
the  system  itself.  They  considered  it,  however,  highly  neces- 
sary that,  in  the  establishment  of  a  constitution  possessing 
extensive  national  authorities,  a  proper  distribution  of  its 
powers  should  be  attended  to.  Sensible  of  the  danger  of  a 
single  body,  and  that  to  such  a  council  the  states  ought  not 
to  intrust  important  rights,  they  considered,  it  their  duty  to 
divide  the  legislature  into  two  branches,  and,  by  a  limited 
revisionary  power,  to  mingle,  in  some  degree,  the  executive 
in  their  proceedings  —  a  provision  that  he  was  pleased  to  find 
meets  with  universal  approbation.  The  degree  of  weight 
which  each  state  was  to  have  in  the  federal  council  became 
a  question  of  much  agitation.  The  larger  states  contended 
that  no  government  could  long  exist  whose  principles  were 
founded  in  injustice ;  that  one  of  the  most  serious  and  un- 
answerable objections  to  the  present  system  was  the  injustice 
of  its  tendency  in  allowing  each  state  an  equal  vote,  not- 
withstanding their  striking  disparity.  The  small  ones  re- 
plied, and  perhaps  with  reason,  that,  as  the  states  were  the 
pillars  upon  which  the  general  government  must  ever  rest, 
their  state  ^[overnments  must  remain  ;  that,  however  they 
may  vary  m  pomt  of  territory  or  population,  as  political  as- 
sociations they  were  equal ;  that  upon  these  terms  they  for- 
mally confederated,  and  that  no  inducement  whatsoever 
should  tempt  them  to  unite  upon  others;  that,  if  they  did,  it 
would  amount  to  nothing  less  than  throwing  the  whole  gov- 
ernment of  the  Union  into  the  hands  of  three  or  four  of  the 
largest  states. 


After  much  anxious  discussion, — for,  had  the  Convention 
separated  without  determining  upon  a  plan,  it  would  have  been 
on  this  point,  —  a  compromise  was  effected,  by  which  it  was 
determined  that  the  first  branch  be  so  chosen  as  to  represent 
in  due  proportion  the  people  of  the  Union ;  that  the  Senate 
should  be  the  representatives  of  the  static,  where  each  should 
have  an  equal  weight.  Though  he  was  at  first  opposed  to 
this  compromise,  yet  he  was  far  from  thinking  it  an  injudi- 
cious one.  The  different  branches  of  the  legislature  being 
intended  as  checks  upon  each  other,  it  appeared  to  him  they 
would  more  effectually  restrain  their  mutual  intemperances 
under  this  mode  of  representation  than  they  would  have  done 
if  both  houses  had  been  so  formed  upon  proportionable  prin- 
ciples ;  for,  let  us  theorize  as  much  as  we  will,  it  will  be  im- 
possible so  far  to  divest  the  majority  of  the  federal  represent- 
atives of  their  state  views  and  policy,  as  to  induce  them  al- 
ways to  act  upon  truly  national  principles.  Men  do  no 
easily  wean  themselves  of  those  preferences  and  attachments 
which  country  and  connections  invariably  create  ;  and  it  must 
frequently  have  happened,  had  the  larger  states  acquired  that 
decided  majority  which  a  proportionable  representation  would 
have  given  them  in  both  houses,  that  state  views  and  policy 
would  have  influenced  their  deliberations.  The  ease  with 
which  they  would,  upon  all  occasions,  have  secured  a  ma- 
jority in  the  legislature,  might,  in  times  less  virtuous  than 
the  present,  have  operated  as  temptations  to  designing  and 
ambitious  men  to  sacrifice  the  public  good  to  private  views. 
This  cannot  be  the  case  at  present;  the  different  mode  of 
representation  for  the  Senate  will,  as  has  already  been  ob- 
served, most  effectually  prevent  it.  The  purpose  of  estab- 
lishing different  houses  of  legislation  was  to  introduce  the  in- 
fluence of  different  interests  and  principles ;  and  he  thought 
that  we  should  derive,  from  this  mode  of  separating  the 
legislature  into  two  branches,  those  benefits  which  a  proper 
complication  of  principles  is  capable  of  producing:,  and  which 
must,  in  his  judgment,  be  greater  than  any  evils  that  may 
arise  from  their  temporary  dissensions. 

The  judicial  he  conceived  to  be  at  once  the  most  impor- 
tant and  intricate  part  of  the  system.  That  a  supreme  fed- 
eral jurisdiction  was  indispensable,  cannot  be  denied.  It  is 
equally  true  that,  in  order  to  insure  the  administration  of 
justice,  it  was  necessary  to  give  it  all  the  powers,  original  as 
VOL.  IV.  33 

2o8  DEBATES.  [Pincknet. 

well  as  appellate,  the  Constitution  has  enumerated ;  without 
it  we  could  not  expect  a  due  observance  of  treaties  —  that 
the  state  judiciary  would   confine    themselves  within  iheir 

r roper  sphere,  or  that  general  sense  of  justice  i^ervade  the 
Jnion  which  this  part  of  the  Constitution  is  intended  to 
introduce  and  protect  —  that  much,  however,  would  depend 
upon  the  wisdom  of  the  legislatures  who  are  to  organize  it 
—  that,  from  the  extensiveness  of  its  powers,  it  may  be 
easily  seen  that,  under  a  wise  management,  this  department 
might  be  made  the  keystone  of  the  arch,  the  means  of  con- 
necting and  binding  the  whole  together,  of  preserving  uni- 
formity in  all  the  judicial  proceedings  of  the  Union  —  that, 
in  republics,  much  more  (in  time  of  peace)  would  always 
depend  upon  the  energy  and  integrity  of  the  judicial  than 
on  any  other  part  of  the  government  —  that,  to  insure  these, 
extensive  authorities  were  necessary ;  particularly  so  were 
they  in  a  tribunal  constituted  as  this  is,  whose  duty  it  would 
be  not  only  to  decide  all  national  questions  which  should 
arise  within  the  Union,  but  to  control  and  keep  the  state 
judicials  within  their  proper  limits  whenever  they  shall  at- 
tempt to  interfere  with  its  power. 

And  the  executive,  he  said,  though  not  constructed  upon 
those  firm  and  permanent  principles  which  he  confessed 
would  have  been  pleasing  to  him,  is  still  as  much  so  as  the 
present  temper  and  genius  of  the  people  will  admit.  Though 
many  objections  had  been  made  to  this  part  of  the  system, 
he  was  always  at  a  loss  to  account  for  them.  That  there 
can  be  nothing  dangerous  in  its  powers,  even  if  he  was 
disjx^sed  to  take  undue  advantages,  must  be  easily  discerned 
from  reviewing  them.  He  is  commander-in-chief  of  the 
land  and  naval  forces  of  the  Union,  but  he  can  neither  raise 
nor  support  forces  by  his  own  autiiority.  He  has  a  re  vision- 
ary power  in  the  making  of  laws;  but  if  two  thirds  of  both 
houses  afterwards  agree  notwithstanding  his  negative,  the 
law  passes.  He  cannot  appoint  to  an  office  without  the  Sen- 
ate concurs ;  nor  can  he  enter  into  treaties,  or,  in  short,  take  a 
single  step  in  his  government,  without  their  advice.  He  is, 
also,  to  remain  in  office  but  four  years.  He  might  ask,  then, 
From  whence  are  the  dangtTs  of  the  executive  to  proceed  ? 
It  may  be  said.  From  a  combination  of  the  executive  and 
the  Senate,  they  might  form  a  baneful  aristocracy. 

He  had  been  opposed  to  connecting  the  executive  and 


the  Senate  in  the  discharge  of  those  duties,  because  their 
union,  in  his  opinion,  destroyed  that  responsibility  which  the 
Constitution  should,  in    this  respect,  have   been  careful  to 
establish ;   but  he  had  no  apprehensions  of  an  aristocracy. 
For  his  part,  he  confessed  that  he  ever  treated  all  fears  of 
aristocracies  or  despotisms,  in  the  federal  head,  as  the  mos» 
childish  chimeras  that  could  be  conceived.     In  a  Union  ex- 
tensive as  this  is,  composed  of  so  many  state  governments, 
and  inhabited  by  a  people  characterized,  as  our  citizens  are,  by 
an  impatience  under  any  act  which  even  looks  like  an  in- 
fringement of  their  rights,  an  invasion  of  them  by  the  federal 
head  appeared  to  him   the  most   remote  of  all    our  public 
dangers.     So  far  from  supposing  a  change  of  this  sort  at  all 
probable,  he  confessed  his  apprehensions  were  of  a  different' 
kind  :  he  rather  feared   that  it  was   impossible,  while  the 
state  systems  continue  —  and  continue  they  must  —  to  con- 
struct any  government  upon  republican  principles  sufficiently 
energetic  to  extend  its  influence  through  all  its  parts.     Near 
the  federal  seat,  its    influence    may  have  complete  effect; 
hut  he  much  doubted  its  efficacy  in  the  more  remote  districts. 
The  state  governments  will  too  naturally  slide  into  an  o|)- 
position  against  the  general  one,  and  be  easily  induced  to 
consider   themselves   as    rivals.     They    will,    after  a    time, 
resist  the  collection  of  a  revenue ;  and  if  the  general  gov- 
ernment is  obliged  to  concede,  in  the  smallest  degree,  on 
this    point,  they   will   of  course    neglect   their   duties,    and 
despise  its  authority:  a  great  degree  of  weight  and  energy 
is  necessary  td  enforce  it ;  nor  is  any  thing  to  be  apprehended' 
from  them.     All  power  being  immediately  derived  from  the 
people,  and  the  state  governments   being  the  basis  of  the 
general  one,  it  will  easily  be  in  their  power  to  interfere,  and 
to  prevent  its  injuring  or  invading  their  rights.     Though  at 
first  he  considered  some  declaration  on  the  subject  of  trial  by 
jury  in  civil  causes,  and  the  freedom  of  the  press,  necessary, 
and  still  thinks  it  would  have  been  as  well  to  have  had  it 
inserted,  yet  he  fully  acquiesced  in  the  reasoning  which  was 
used  to  show  that  the  insertion  of  them  was  not  essential. 
The  distinction  which  has  been  taken  between  the  nature  of 
a  federal  and  state  government  appeared  to  be  conclusive  — 
ihit  in  the  former,  no  powers  could  be  executed,  or  assumed, 
ixit  such  as  were  expressly  delegated ;  that  in  the  latter,  the 
indefinite  power  was  given  to  the  government,  except  on 


points   that   were    by   express   compact    reserved    to     the 

On  the  subject  of  juries,  in  civil  cases,  the  Convention 
were  anxious  to  make  some  declaration  ;  but  when  they  re- 
flected that  all  courts  of  admiralty  and  appeals,  being  gov- 
erned in  their  propriety  by  the  civil  law  and  the  laws  of 
nations,  never  had,  or  ought  to  have,  juries,  they  found  it 
impossible  to  make  any  precise  declaration  upon  the  subject; 
they  therefore  left  it  as  it  was,  trusting  that  the  good  sense 
of  their  constituents  would  never  induce  them  to  suppose 
that  it  could  be  the  interest  or  intention  of  the  general  gov- 
ernment to  abuse  one  of  the  most  invaluable  privileges  a 
free  country  can  boast;  in  the  loss  of  which,  themselves, 
their  fortunes  and  connections,  must  be  so  materially  in- 
volved, and  to  the  deprivation  of  which,  except  in  the  cases 
alluded  to,  the  people  of  this  country  would  never  submit. 
When  we  reflect  that  the  exigencies  of  the  government 
require  that  a  general  government  upon  other  principles 
than  the  present  should  be  established,  —  when  we  contem- 
plate the  difference  between  a  federal  union  and  a  govern- 
ment operating  upon  the  people,  and  not  upon  the  states,  — 
we  must  at  once  see  the  necessity  of  giving  to  it  the  power 
of  direct  taxation.  Without  this,  it  must  be  impossible  for 
them  to  raise  such  supplies  as  are  necessary  to  discharge  the 
debts,  or  sup|)ort  the  expenses,  of  the  Union  —  to  provide 
against  the  common  dangers,  or  afford  that  protection  to  its 
meml>ers  which  they  have  a  right  to  expect  from  the  federal 
head.  But  here  he  begged  leave  to  observe  that,  so  far  from 
apprehending  danger  from  the  exercise  of  this  power,  few  or 
no  inconveniences  are  to  be  expected.  He  had  not  a  doubt 
that,  except  in  time  of  war,  or  pressing  necessity,  a  sufficient 
sum  would  always  be  raised,  by  impost,  to  defray  the  gen- 
eral expenses.  As  to  the  power  of  raising  troops,  it  was 
unnecessary  to  remark  upon  it  further  than  merely  to  say, 
that  this  is  a  power  the  government  at  present  possesses  and 
exercises;  a  power  so  essential,  that  he  should  very  much 
doubt  the  good  sense  or  information  of  the  man  that  should 
conceive  it  improper.  It  is  guarded  by  a  declaration  that  no 
grants  for  this  pur|)ose  shall  be  longer  than  two  years  at  a 
time.  For  his  own  part,  notwithstanding  all  that  had  been 
said  upon  this  popular  topic,  he  could  not  conceive  that  either 
the  dignity  of  a  government  could  be  maintained,  its  safety 


insured,  or  its  laws  administered,  without  a  body  of  regulai 
forces  to  aid  the  magistrate  in  the  execution  of  his  duty. 
All  government  is  a  kind  of  restraint.  We  may  be  told,  a 
free  government  imposes  no  restraint  upon  the  private  wilb 
of  individuals  which  does  not  conduce  in  a  greater  degree  to 
the  public  happiness;  but  all  government  is  restraint,  and 
founded  in  force.  We  are  the  first  nation  who  have  ever 
held  a  contrary  opinion,  or  even  attempted  to  maintain  one 
without  it.  The  experiment  has  been  made,  and  he  trusted 
there  would  hereafter  be  few  men  weak  enough  to  suppose 
that  some  regular  force  ought  not  to  be  kept  up,  or  that  the 
militia  ever  can  be  depended  upon  as  the  support  or  pro- 
tection of  the  Union. 

Upon  the  whole,  he  could  not  but  join  those  in  opinion 
who  have  asserted  that  this  is  the  best  government  that 
has  ever  yet  been  offered  to  the  world,  and  that,  instead  of 
being  alarmed  at  its  consequences,  we  should  be  astonish- 
ingly pleased  that  one  so  perfect  could  have  been  formed 
from  such  discordant  and  unpromising  materials.  In  a  sys- 
tem founded  upon  republican  principles,  where  the  j)owers 
of  government  are  properly  distributed,  and  each  confined 
to  a  separate  body  of  magistracy,  a  greater  degree  of  force 
and  energy  will  always  be  found  necessary  than  even  in  a 
monarchy.  This  arises  from  the  national  spirit  of  union  be- 
ing stronger  in  monarchies  than  in  republics :  it  is  said  to  be 
naturally  strong  in  monarchies,  because,  in  the  absence  both 
of  manners  and  principles,  the  compeUing  power  of  the  sov- 
ereign collects  and  draws  every  thing  to  a  point ;  and  thereby, 
in  all  common  situations,  effectually  supplies  their  place. 
But  in  free  countries  it  is  naturally  weak,  unless  supported 
by  public  spirit;  for  as,  in  most  cases,  a  full  spirit  of  national 
union  will  require  that  the  separate  and  partial  views  ot 
private  interest  be  on  every  occasion  sacrificed  to  the  general 
welfare,  so,  when  this  principle  prevails  not,  (and  it  will 
Dnly  prevail  in  moments  of  enthusiasm,)  the  national  union 
must  ever  be  destroyed  by  selfish  views  and  private  interest. 
He  said  that,  with  respect  to  the  Union,  this  can  only  be 
remedied  by  a  strong  government,  which,  while  it  collects 
its  powers  to  a  point,  will  prevent  that  spirit  of  disunion  from 
which  the  most  serious  consequences  are  to  be  apprehended. 
He  begged  leave,  for  a  moment,  to  examine  what  effect  this 
spin*  of  disunion  must  have  upon  us,  as  we  may  be  affected 

9Jb^  DEBATES.  LPinchnbi 

by  a  foreign  enemy.  It  weakens  the  consistency  of  all 
public  measures,  so  that  no  extensive  scheme  of  thought  can 
be  carried  into  action,  if  its  accomplishment  demand  any 
long  continuance  of  time.  It  weakens  not  only  the  consist- 
ency, but  the  vigor  and  expedition,  of  all  public  measures ; 
so  that,  while  a  divided  people  are  contending  about  the 
means  of  security  or  defence,  a  united  enemy  may  surprise 
and  invade  them.  These  are  the  apparent  consequences  of 
disunion.  Mr.  Pinckney  confessed,  however,  that,  after  all 
that  had  been  said  upon  the  subject,  our  Constitution  was  in 
some  measure  but  an  experiment;  nor  was  it  possible  yet  to 
form  a  just  conclusion  as  to  its  practicability. 

It  had  been  an  opinion  long  established,  that  a  republican 
form  of  government  suited  only  the  affairs  of  a  small  state ; 
which  opinion  is  founded  in  the  consideration,  that  unless  the 
people  in  every  district  of  the  empire  be  admitted  to  a  share 
in  the  national  representation,  the  government  is  not  to  them 
as  a  republic ;  that  in  a  democratic  constitution,  the  mech- 
anism is  too  complicated,  the  motions  too  slow,  for  the  oper- 
ations of  a  great  empire,  whose  defence  and  government 
require  execution  and  despatch  in  proportion  to  the  magni- 
tude, extent,  and  variety  of  its  concerns.  There  was,  no 
doubt,  weight  in  these  reasons;  but  much  of  the  objection, 
he  thought,  would  be  done  away  by  the  continuance  of  a 
federal  republic,  which,  distributing  the  country  into  districts, 
or  states,  of  a  commodious  extent,  and  leaving  to  each  state 
its  internal  legislation,  reserves  unto  a  superintending  gov- 
ernment the  adjustment  of  their  general  claims,  the  complete 
direction  of  the  <:ommon  force  and  treasure  of  the  empire. 
To  what  limits  such  a  republic  might  extend,  or  how  far  it 
is  capable  of  UAiiting  the  liberty  of  a  small  commonwealth 
with  the  safety  of  a  peaceful  empire;  or  whether,  amon^ 
coordinate  powers,  dissensions  and  jealousies  would  not  arise, 
which,  for  want  of  a  common  superior,  might  proceed  to 
fatal  extremities,  —  are  questions  upon  which  he  did  not 
recollect  the  example  of  any  nation  to  authorize  us  to  decide, 
because  the  experiment  has  never  been  yet  fairly  made.  We 
are  now  a  tout  to  make  it  upon  an  extensive  scale,  and  under 
circumstances  so  promising,  that  he  considered  it  the  fairest 
experiment  that  hctd  been  ever  made  in  favor  of  human 
nature.  He  concluded  with  expressmg  a  thorough  convic- 
aon  that  the  firm  establishment  of  the  present  system   ih 


better  calculated  lo  answer  the  great  ends  of  public  hapuines^ 
than  any  that  has  yet  been  devised. 

A  long  debate  arose  on  reading  the  Constitution  in  para- 
graphs ;  but,  on  a  division,  there  appeared  to  be  a  majority 
against  it. 

Hon.  ROBERT  BARNWELL  hoped  gentlemen  would 
confine    themselves  to  the   principles  of  this    Constitution 
An  honorable  member  had  already  given  much  valuable  in- 
formation as  reasons  that  operated  in  the  Convention,  so  that 
they  were  now  able  to  lay  before  their  constituents  the  ne 
cessity  of  bringing  forward  this  Constitution. 

Judge  PENDLETON  read  a  paragraph  in  the  Constitu 
tion,  which  says  "  the  Senate  shall  have  the  sole  power  of 
impeachment."  In  the  British  government,  and  all  govern- 
ments where  power  is  given  to  make  treaties  of  peace,  pr 
declare  war,  there  had  been  found  necessity  to  annex  respon- 
sibility. In  England,  particularly,  ministers  that  advised 
illegal  measures  were  liable  to  impeachment,  for  advising  the 
king.  Now,  if  justice  called  for  punishment  of  treachery 
in  the  Senate,  on  account  of  giving  bad  advice,  before  what 
tribunal  could  they  be  arraigned  ?  Not  surely  before  their 
house;  that  was  absurd  to  suppose.  Nor  could  the  Presi- 
dent be  impeached  for  making  treaties,  he  acting  only  under 
advice  of  the  Senate,  without  a  power  of  negativing. 

Maj.  PIERCE  BUTLER  (one  of  the  delegates  of  the 
Federal  Convention)  was  one  of  a  committee  that  drew  up 
this  clause,  and  would  endeavor  to  recollect  those  reasons  by 
which  they  were  g:uided.  It  was  at  first  proposed  to  vest  the 
sole  |)ower  of  making  peace  or  war  in  the  Senate ;  but  this 
was  objected  to  as  inimical  to  the  genius  of  a  republic,  by 
destroying  the  necessary  balance  they  were  anxious  to  pre- 
serve. Some  gentlemen  were  inclined  to  give  this  power  to 
the  President;  but  it  was  objected  to,  as  throwing  into  his 
hands  the  influence  of  a  monarch,  having  an  opportunity  of 
involving  his  country  in  a  war  whenever  he  wished  to  pro- 
mote her  destruction.  The  House  of  Representatives  was 
then  named ;  but  an  insurmountable  objection  was  made  to  this 
proposition  —  which  was,  that  negotiations  always  required 
the  greatest  secrecy,  which  could  not  be  expected  in  a  large 
iiod)'.  The  honorable  gentleman  then  gave  a  clear,  concise 
opinion  on  the  propriety  of  the  proposed  Constitution. 



of  the  delegates  of  the  Federal  Convention)  observed,  that 
the  honorable  judge,  from  his  great  penetration,  had  hit  upon 
one  of  those  difficult  points  which  for  a  long  time  occasioned 
much  debate  in  the  Convention.  Indeed,  this  subject  ap- 
peared to  be  of  so  much  magnitude,  that  a  committee  con- 
sisting of  one  member  from  each  state  was  appointed  to 
consider  and  report  upon  it.  His  honorable  friend  (Major 
Butler)  was  on  the  committee  for  this  state.  Some  members 
were  for  vesting  the  power  for  making  treaties  in  the  legis- 
lature ;  but  the  secrecy  and  despatch  which  are  so  frequently 
necessary  in  negotiations  evinced  the  impropriety  of  vesting 
it  there.  The  same  reason  showed  the  impropriety  of  pla- 
cing it  solely  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  A  few  mem- 
bers were  desirous  that  the  President  alone  might  possess 
this  power,  and  contended  that  it  might  safely  be  lodged 
with  him,  as  he  was  to  be  responsible  for  his  conduct,  and 
therefore  would  not  dare  to  make  a  treaty  repugnant  to  the 
interest  of  his  country  ;  and  from  his  situation  he  was  more 
interested  in  making  a  good  treaty  than  any  other  man  in 
the  United  States.  This  doctrine  General  Pinckney  said  he 
could  not  acquiesce  in.  Kings,  he  admitted,  were  in  general 
more  interested  in  the  welfare  of  their  country  than  any 
other  individual  in  it,  because  the  prosperity  of  the  country 
tended  to  increase  the  lustre  of  the  crown,  and  a  king  never 
could  receive  a  sufficient  compensation  for  the  sale  of  his 
kingdoms ;  for  he  could  not  enjoy  in  any  other  country  so 
advantageous  a  situation  as  he  permanently  possessed  in  his 
own.  Hence  kings  are  less  liable  to  foreign  bribery  and 
corruption  than  any  other  set  of  men,  because  no  bribe  that 
could  be  given  them  could  compensate  the  loss  they  must 
necessarily  sustain  for  injuring  their  dominions ;  indeed,  he 
did  not  at  present  recollect  any  instance  of  a  king  who  had 
received  a  bribe  from  a  foreign  power,  except  Charles  H., 
who  sold  Dunkirk  to  Louis  aIV.  But  the  situation  of  a 
President  would  be  very  different  from  that  of  a  king  :  he 
might  withdraw  himself  from  the  United  States,  so  that  the 
states  could  receive  no  advantage  from  his  responsibility  ; 
his  office  is  not  to  be  permanent,  but  temporary ;  and  he 
might  receive  a  bribe  which  would  enable  him  to  live,  in 
gniater  splendor  in  another  country  than  his  own  ;  and  when 
out  of  office,  he  was  no  more  interested  in  the  prosperity  of 
his  country  than  any  ither  patriotic  citizen  :  and  in  franiins 

LowNDM.]  SOUTH   CAROUNA.  266 

a  treaty,  he  might  j^erhaps  show  an  improper  partiality  for 
the  state  to  which  he  particularly  belonged.  The  different 
propositions  made  on  this  subject,  the  general  observed,  oc- 
casioned much  debate.  At  last  it  was  agreed  to  give  the 
President  a  power  of  proposing  treaties,  as  he  was  the  osten- 
sible head  of  the  Union,  and  to  vest  the  Senate  (where  each 
Slate  had  an  equal  voice)  with  the  power  of  agreeing  or  dis- 
agreeing to  the  terms  proposed.  This,  in  some  measure, 
took  away  their  responsibility,  but  not  totally  ;  for,  though 
the  Senate  were  to  be  judges  on  impeachments,  and  the 
members  of  it  would  not  probably  condemn  a  measure  they 
had  agreed  to  confirm,  yet,  as  they  were  not  a  permanent 
body,  they  might  be  tried  hereafter  by  other  senators,  and 
condemned,  if  they  deserved  it.  On  the  whole,  a  large  ma- 
jority of  the  Convention  thought  this  power  would  be  more 
safely  lodged  where  they  had  finally  vested  it,  than  any 
where  else.  It  was  a  power  that  must  necessarily  be  lodged 
somewhere  :  political  caution  and  republican  jealousy  ren- 
dered it  improper  for  us  to  vest  it  in  the  President  alone ; 
the  nature  of  negotiation,  and  the  frequent  recess  of  the 
House  of  Representatives,  rendered  that  body  an  improper 
depository  of  this  prerogative.  The  President  and  Senate 
joined  were,  therefore,  after  much  deliberation,  deemed  the 
most  eligible  corps  in  whom  we  could  with  safety  vest  the 
diplomatic  authority  of  the  Union. 

Hon.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES  could  not  consider  the 
representation  of  two  thirds  in  the  Senate  as  equal  to  the  old 
Confederation,  which  required  nine  states.  By  this  new 
Constitution,  a  quorum  in  the  Senate  might  consist  only  of 
fourteen  ;  two  thirds  of  which  were  ten.  Now,  was  this 
any  thing  like  a  check  equal  to  the  present  ?  Was  it  con- 
sistent with  prudence  to  vest  so  much  power  in  the  hands  of 
so  small  a  body  of  men,  who  might  supersede  every  existing 
law  in  the  Union  ?  Here  he  read  the  2d  clause  in  the  6th 
article  of  the  Constitution,  viz. :  "  This  Constitution,  and  the 
laiVs  of  the  United  States  which  shall  be  made  in  pursuance 
thereof,  and  all  treaties  made,  or  which  shall  be  made, 
under  the  authority  of  the  United  States,  shall  be  the  su- 
preme law  of  the  land  ;  and  the  judges  in  every  state  shall 
be  bound  thereby  —  any  thing  in  the  Constitution  or  laws  of 
any  state  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding."  Now,  in  the 
history  of  the  known  world,  was  there  an  instance  of  the 
VOL.  IV.  34  23 


rulers  of  a  republic  being  allowed  to  go  so  far  ?  Even  the 
most  arbitrary  kings  possessed  nothing  like  it.  The  tyran- 
nical Henry  VIII.  had  power  given  him  by  Parliament  to 
issue  proclamations  that  should  have  the  same  force  as  laws 
of  the  land  ;  but  this  unconstitutional  privilege  had  been 
justly  reprobated  and  exploded.  The  king  of  France,  though 
a  despotic  prince,  (he  meant  no  reflection  on  that  prince  ; 
his  opinion  was  very  well  known,)  yet  could  not  enforce  his 
edicts  until  they  had  been  registered  in  Parliament.  In 
England,  the  ministers  proceed  with  cijution  in  niaking  trea- 
ties :  far  from  being  considered  as  legal  without  parliament- 
ary sanction,  the  preamble  always  stated  that  his  majesty 
would  endeavor  to  get  it  ratified  by  his  Parliament.  He  ob- 
served, tliat  the  clause  entirely  did  away  the  instalment  law  ; 
for,  when  this  Constitution  came  to  he  established,  the  treaty 
of  peace  might  be  pleaded  against  the  relief  which  that  law 
afforded.  The  honorable  gentleman  cpmmented  on  the  ex- 
tensive powers  given  to  the  President,  who  was  not,  he  be- 
lieved, likely  ever  to  be  chosen  from  South  Carolina  or 

to  obviate  some  of  the  objections  made  by  the  honorable 
gentleman  who  sat  down,  and  whose  arguments,  he  thought, 
were  calculated  ad  captandum,  and  did  not  coincide  with 
that  ingenuous,  fair  mode  of  reasoning  he  in  general  made 
use  of.  The  treaty  could  not  be  construed  to  militate  against 
our  laws  now  in  existence  ;  and  while  we  did  not  make,  by 
law,  any  distinction  between  our  citizens  and  foreigners 
foreigners  would  be  content.  The  treaty  had  been  enrolled 
in  the  prothonotary's  office  by  the  express  order  of  the  judges. 
It  had  been  adjudged,  in  a  variety  of  cases,  to  be  part  of  the 
law  of  the  land,  and  had  been  admitted  to  be  so  whenever  it 
was  pleaded.  If  this  had  not  been  the  case,  and  any  indi- 
vidual state  i)ossessed  a  right  to  disregard  a  treaty  made  by 
Congress,  no  nation  would  have  entered  into  a  treaty  with  us. 

The  comparison  made  between  kings  and  our  President 
was  not  a  proper  one.  Kings  are,  in  general,  hereditary,  in 
whose  appointment  the  people  have  no  voice ;  whereas,  in  the 
(lection  of  our  President,  the  people  have  a  voice,  and  the 
state  of  South  Carolina  hath  a  thirteenth  share  in  his  appomt- 
ment.  In  the  election  of  senators.  South  Carolina  has  an 
rqual  vote  with  any  other  state  ;  so  has  Georgia ;  and  if  we 


have  a  man  as  fit  for  the  office  of  President  in  this  state  as  in 
others,  he  did  not  think  the  being  a  southern  man  could  be  an 
objection.  More  than  one  president  of  Congress  had  been 
taken  from  this  state.  If  we  should  not  be  represented  in 
the  Senate,  it  would  be  our  own  Aiult ;  the  mode  of  voting 
in  that  body  per  capita^  and  not  by  states,  as  formerly,  would 
be  a  strong  inducement  to  us  to  keep  up  a  full  rej)resenta- 
tion :  the  alteration  was  approved  by  every  one  of  the  Con- 
vention who  had  been  a  member  of  Congress.  He  then 
mentioned  several  instances  of  difficulties  which  he  had  been 
informed  had  occurred  in  Congress  in  determining  questions 
of  vast  importance  to  the  Union,  on  account  of  the  members 
voting  as  states,  and  not  individually.  He  did  not  think  the 
Southern  States  would  be  remiss  in  keeping  a  full  representa- 
tion. Experience  proved  that  the  Eastern  and  the  Southern 
States  were  most  punctual  in  attendance.  He  understood 
that  it  was  the  Middle  ones  that  principally  neglected  this 

Hon.  JOHN  RUTLEDGE  (one  of  the  delegates  of  the 
Federal  Convention)  thought  the  gentleman  mistaken  both 
as  to  law  and  fact ;  for  every  treaty  was  law  paramount,  and 
must  operate.  [Read  part  of  the  9th  article  of  Confedera- 
tion.] In  England,  treaties  are  not  necessarily  ratified,  as 
was  proved  when  the  British  Parliament  took  up  the  last 
treaty  of  peace.  A  vote  of  disapprobation  dispossessed  Lord 
Shelburne,  the  minister,  of  his  place ;  the  Commons  only 
addressed  the  king  for  having  concluded  a  peace  ;  yet  this 
treaty  is  binding  in  our  courts  and  in  England.  In  that 
country,  American  citizens  can  recover  debts  due  to  them 
under  the  treaty ;  and  in  this,  but  for  the  treaty,  what  vio- 
lences would  have  taken  place !  What  security  had  violent 
tories,  stealers  of  horses,  and  a  number  of  lawless  men,  but  a 
law  that  we  passed  for  recognizing  the  treaty  ?  There  might 
have  been  some  offenders  punished  ;  but  if  they  had  obtained 
a  writ  o(  habeas  corpus^  no  doubt  they  would  have  been  re- 
lieved. There  was  an  obvious  difference  between  treaties 
of  peace  and  those  of  commerce,  because  commercial  treaties 
frequently  clashed  with  the  laws  upon  that  subject;  so  that 
It  was  necessary  to  be  ratified  in  Parliament.  As  a  proof 
that  our  present  Articles  of  Confederation  were  paramount, 
it  was  there  expressed  that  France  should  enjoy  certain  privi- 
leges.    Now,  supposing  any  law  had  passed  taking  those 

268  DEBATES.  [Pringlb 

privileges  awaj,  would  not  the  treaty  be  a  sufficient  bar  tc 
any  local  or  municipal  laws?  What  sort  of  power  is  that 
which  leaves  individuals  in  full  power  to  reject  or  approver 
Suppose  a  treaty  was  unexpectedly  concluded  between  two 
nations  at  war  ;  could  individual  subjects  ravage  and  plunder 
under  letters  of  marque  and  reprisal  ?  Certainly  not.  The 
treaty  concluded,  even  secretly,  would  be  a  sufficient  bar  to 
the  establishment.  Pray,  what  solid  reasons  could  be  urged 
to  support  gentlemen's  fears  that  our  new  governors  would 
wish  to  promote  measures  injurious  to  their  native  land  ? 
Was  it  not  more  reasonable  that,  if  every  state  in  the  Union 
had  a  negative  voice,  a  single  state  might  be  tampered  with, 
and  defeat  every  good  intention  ?  Adverting  to  the  objection 
relative  to  the  instalment  law  being  done  away,  he  asked, 
supposing  a  person  gave  security  conformable  to  that  law, 
whether,  judging  from  precedent,  the  judges  would  permit 
any  further  proceedings  contrary  to  it.  He  scouted  the  idea 
that  only  ten  members  would  ever  be  left  to  manage  the 
business  of  the  Senate ;  yet,  even  if  so,  our  delegates  might 
be  part  of  that  ten,  and  consequently  our  interest  secured. 
He  described  difficulties  experienced  in  Congress  in  1781 
and  1782.  In  those  times  business  of  vast  importance  stood 
still  because  nine  states  could  not  be  kept  together.  Having 
said  that  the  laws  would  stand  exactly  as  they  did  before, 
the  chancellor  asked  whether  gentlemen  seriously  could  sup- 
pose that  a  President,  who  has  a  character  at  stake,  would 
be  such  a  fool  and  knave  as  to  join  with  ten  others  to  tear 
up  liberty  by  the  roots,  when  a  full  Senate  were  competent 
ro  impeach  him. 

Hon.  RALPH  IZARD  gave  a  clear  account  of  the  man- 
ner in  which  edicts  are  registered  in  France,  which,  how- 
ever, were  legal  without  that  ceremony.  Even  the  kings  of 
£ngland  had  power  to  make  treaties  of  peace  or  war.  In 
the  congress  held  at  Utrecht,  two  treaties  were  agreed  upon, 
one  relative  to  peace,  the  other  of  commerce ;  the  latter  was 
not  ratified,  being  found  to  clash  with  some  laws  in  exist- 
ence ;  yet  the  king's  right  to  make  it  was  never  disputed. 

Mr.  SPEAKER  (Hon.  John  Julius  Pringle)  said,  that  in 
general  he  paid  great  deference  to  the  opinions  of  the  gentle- 
man, (Mr.  Lowndes,)  because  they  flowed  from  good  natural 
sense,  matured  by  much  reflection  and  experience.  On  this 
occasion,  he  entirely  disagreed  with  him.     The  gentleman 

PaiNrLE.]  SOUTH   CAROUNi.  269 

appeared  extremely  alarmed  by  a  phantom  of  his  own  crea- 
tion—  a  phantom,  like  every  other,  without  body  or  sub- 
stance, and  which  will  vanish  as  soon  as  touched.  If  the 
objections  which  we  may  have  to  other  parts  of  the  Constitu- 
tion be  no  better  founded  than  to  this  article,  the  Constitu- 
tion will  pass  through  the  medium  of  this  house,  like  gold 
through  the  crucible,  the  purer,  and  with  much' greater  lustre. 
His  objections  will  only  serve  to  confirm  the  sentiments  of  those 
who  favor  it.  All  the  gentleman's  objections  may  be  com- 
prised in  the  following  compass:  By  the  article,  the  Presi- 
dent, with  ten  senators,  if  only  ten  attend,  may  make 
treaties  to  bind  all  the  states  —  that  the  treaties  have  the 
force  of,  and  indeed  are  paramount  to,  the  laws  of  the  land 
—  therefore,  the  President  and  Senate  have  a  legislative 
power;  and  then  he  gives  scope  to  a  great  deal  of  declama- 
tion on  the  vast  danger  of  their  having  such  legislative  power, 
and  particularly  that  they  might  have  a  treaty  which  might 
thus  repeal  the  instalment  law.  This  is  a  greater  power,  he 
says,  than  the  king  of  France  has ;  the  king  of  Great  Britain 
has  his  ratified  by  Parliament  —  the  treaties  of  the  French 
king  must  be  registered.  But  he  conceived  the  gentleman 
was  mistaken  as  to  those  treaties  made  by  these  monarchs. 
The  king  of  France  registers  his  edicts  on  some  occasions,  to 
facilitate  the  execution,  but  not  his  treaties.  The  king  of 
Great  Britain's  treaties  are  discussed  bv  Parliament,  not  for 
ratification,  but  to  discover  whether  the  ministers  deserve 
censure  or  approbation.  The  making  of  treaties  is  justly  a 
part  of  their  prerogative :  it  properly  belongs  to  the  execu- 
tive part  of  government,  because  they  must  be  conducted 
with  despatch  and  secrecy  not  to  be  expected  in  larger  as- 
semblies. No  such  dangers  as  the  g:entleman  apprehends 
can  ensue  from  vestin"r  it  with  the  President  and  Senate. 
Although  the  treaties  they  make  may  have  the  force  of  laws 
when  made,  they  have  not,  therefore,  legislative  power.  It 
would  be  dangerous,  indeed,  to  trust  them  with  the  power 
of  making  laws  to  affect  the  rights  of  individuals ;  for  this 
might  tend  to  the  oppression  of  individuals,  who  could  not 
obtain  redress.  All  the  evils  would,  in  that  case,  flow  from 
blending  the  legislative,  executive,  and  judicial  powers. 
This  would  violate  the  soundest  principles  of  policy  and  gov- 
ernment. It  is  not  with  regard  to  the  power  of  making 
treaties  as  of  legislation  in  general.     The  treaties  will  aflerf 

270  DEBATES.  [Pincknef; 

all  the  individuals  equally  of  all  the  states.  If  the  President 
and  Senate  make  such  as  violate  the  fundamental  laws,  and 
subvert  the  Constitution,  or  tend  to  the  destruction  of  the 
happiness  and  liberty  of  the  states,  the  evils,  equally  oppress- 
ing all,  will  be  removed  as  soon  as  felt,  as  those  who  are 
oppressed  have  the  power  and  means  of  redress.  Such 
Treaties,  not  being  made  with  good  faith,  and  on  the  broad 
basis  of  reciprocal  interest  and  convenience,  hut  by  treachery 
and  a  betraying  of  trust,  and  by  exceeding  the  powers  with 
which  the  makers  were  intrusted,  ought  to  he  annulled.  No 
nations  would  keep  treaties  thus  made.  Indeed,  it  is  too 
much  the  practice  for  them  to  make  mutual  interest  and  con- 
venience the  rule  of  observation,  or  period  of  duration.  As 
for  the  danger  of  repealing  the  instalment  law,  the  gentle- 
man has  forgot  that  one  article  ordains  that  there  shall  be  no 
retrospective  law.  The  President  and  Senate  will,  therefore, 
hardly  ever  make  a  treaty  that  would  be  of  this  kind.  After 
other  arguments  to  obviate  the  objections  of  the  honorable 
gentleman,  Mr.  Speaker  concluded  with  saying,  that  it  was 
not  necessary  for  him  to  urge  what  further  occurred  to  him, 
as  he  saw  several  of  the  honorable  members  of  the  Conven- 
tion preparing,  whose  duty  it  more  particularly  was,  and 
who  were  more  able  to  confute  the  honorable  gentleman  in 

Dr.  DAVID  RAMSAY  asked  if  the  gentleman  meant  us 
ever  to  have  any  treaties  at  all.  If  not  superior  to  local  laws, 
who  will  trust  them  ?  Would  not  the  question  naturally  be, 
"Did  you  mean,  when  you  made  treaties,  to  fulfil  them?" 
Establish  once  such  a  doctrine,  and  where  will  vou  find  am- 
bassadors  ?  If  gentlemen  had  been  in  the  situation  of 
receiving  similar  information  with  himself,  they  would  have 
heard  letters  read  from  our  ambassadors  abroad,  in  which 
loud  complaints  were  made  that  America  had  l)ecome  faith- 
less and  dishonest.  Was  it  not  full  time  that  such  conduct 
as  this  should  he  amended  ? 

to  mention  some  instances  he  had  omitted  of  the  treaty  with 
Great  Britain  bein":  considered  in  our  courts  as  part  of  the 
law  of  the  land,  'the  judge  who  held  the  court  at  Ninety- 
six  discharged  upwards  of  one  hundred  recognizances  of  per- 
sons committed  for  different  crimes,  which  fell  within  the 
meaning  ol  this  treaty.     A  man  named  Love,  accused  of 

LowwDM.]  SOUTH  CAROLINA.  271 

murder^  was  liberated.  It  is  true,  the  people,  enraged  at  the 
enormity  of  his  conduct,  hanged  him  soon  after ;  l>ut  of  this 
the  judicial  power  knew  nothing  until  after  its  perpetration. 
Another  murderer  was  allowed  to  plead  the  treaty  of  peace 
in  bar,  that  had  conducted  General  Pickens's  brother  into 
the  hands  of  the  Indians,  who  soon  after  put  him  to  death. 

Hon.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES  desired  gentlemen  to  con- 
sider that  his  antagonists  were  mostly  gentlemen  of  the  law, 
who  were  capable  of  giving  ingenious  explanations  to  such 
points  as  they  wished  to  have  adopted.  He  explained  his 
opinion  relative  to  treaties  to  be,  that  no  treaty  concluded 
contrary  to  the  express  laws  of  the  land  could  be  valid. 
The  king  of  England,  when  he  concluded  one,  did  not  think 
himself  warranted  to  go  further  than  to  promise  that  he 
would  endeavor  to  induce  his  Parliament  to  sanction  it. 
The  security  of  a  republic  is  jealousy;  for  its  ruin  may  be 
expected  from  unsuspecting  security.  Let  us  not,  therefore, 
receive  this  proffered  system  with  implicit  confidence,  as 
carrying  with  it  the  stamp  of  superior  perfection  ;  rather  let 
us  compare  what  we  already  possess  with  what  we  are  of- 
fered for  it.  We  are  now  under  the  government  of  a  most 
excellent  constitution,  one  that  had  stood  the  test  of  time, 
and  carried  us  through  difficulties  generally  supposed  to  be 
insurmountable ;  one  that  had  raised  us  high  in  the  eyes  of 
all  nations,  and  given  to  us  the  enviable  blessings  of  liberty 
and  independence ;  a  constitution  sent  like  a  blessing  from 
Heaven ;  yet  we  are  impatient  to  change  it  for  another,  that 
vested  power  in  a  few  men  to  pull  down  that  fabric,  which 
we  had  raised  at  the  expense  of  our  blood.  Charters  ought 
to  be  considered  as  sacred  things.  In  England,  an  attempt 
was  made  to  alter  the  charter  of  the  East  India  Company  ; 
but  they  invoked  heav(?n  and  earth '  in  their  cause ;  moved 
lords,  nay,  even  the  king,  in  their  behalf,  and  thus  averted 
the  ruin  with  which  they  were  threatened. 

It  has  been  said  that  this  new  government  was  to  be  con- 
sidered as  an  experiment.  He  really  was  afraid  it  would 
prove  a  fatal  one  to  our  peace  and  happiness.  An  experi- 
ment! What,  risk  the  loss  of  political  existence  on  experi- 
ment! No,  sir;  if  we  are  to  make  experiments,  rather  let 
them  be  such  as  may  do  good,  but  which  cannot  oossibly  do 
any  injury  to  us  or  our  posterity.  So  far  from  leaving  any 
expectation  of  success  from  such  experiments,  he  sincerelv 

272  DEBATES.  [Lowndes. 

belie\ed  that,  when  this  new  Constitution  should  be  adopted, 
che  sun  of  the  Southern  States  would  set,  never  to  rise 

To  prove  this,  he  observed,  that  six  of  the  Eastern  States 
formed  a  majority  in  the  House  of  Representatives.  In  the 
enumeration  he  passed  Rhode  Ishtnd,  and  inchided  PennsjU 
vania.  Now,  was  it  consonant  with  reason,  with  wisdom, 
with  policy,  to  suppose,  in  a  legishiture  where  a  majority 
of  persons  sat  whose  interests  were  greatly  different  from 
ours,  that  we  had  the  smallest  chance  of  receiving  adequate 
advantages  ?  Certainly  not.  He  believed  the  gentlemen 
that  went  from  this  state,  to  represent  us  in  Convention, 
possessed  as  much  integrity,  and  stood  as  high  in  point  of 
character,  as  any  gentlemen  that  could  have  been  selected ; 
and  he  also  believed  that  they  had  done  every  thing  in  their 
power  to  procure  for  us  a  proportionate  share  in  this  new 
government;  but  the  very  little  they  had  gained  proved 
what  we  may  expect  in  future  —  that  the  interest  of  the 
Northern  States  would  so  predominate  as  to  divest  us  of  any 
pretensions  to  the  title  of  a  republic.  In  the  first  place,  what 
cause  was  there  for  jealousy  of  our  importing  negroes?  Why 
confine  us  to  twenty  years,  or  rather  why  limit  us  at  all  ? 
For  his  part,  he  thought  this  trade  could  be  justified  on  the 
principles  of  religion,  humanity,  and  justice  ;  for  certainly  to 
tmnslate  a  set  of  human  beings  from  a  bad  country  to  a 
better,  was  fulfilling  every  part  of  these  principles.  But 
they  don't  like  our  slaves,  because  they  have  none  them- 
selves, and  therefore  want  to  exclude  us  from  this  great  ad- 
vantage. Why  should  the  Southern  States  allow  of  this, 
without  the  consent  of  nine  states? 

Judge  PENDLETON  observed,  that  only  three  states, 
Georgia,  South  Carolina,  and  North  Carolina,  allowed  the 
importation  of  negroes.  Virginia  had  a  clause  in  her  Con- 
stitution for  this  purpose,  and  Maryland,  he  believed,  even 
before  the  war,  prohibited  them. 

Mr.  LOWNDES  continued  —  that  we  had  a  law  pro- 
hibiting the  importation  of  negroes  for  three  vears.  a  law  he 
greatly  approved  of;  but  there  was  no  reason  offered  why 
the  Southern  States  might  not  find  it  necessary  to  alter  their 
conduct,  and  open  their  ports.  Without  negroes,  this  state 
would  degenerate  into  one  of  the  most  contemptible  in  the 
Hnion ;  and  he  cited  an  expression  that  fell  from  General 


Pinckney  on  a  former  debate,  that  whilst  there  remained  one 
acre  of  swamp-land  in  South  Carolina,  he  should  raise  hi» 
voice  against  restricting  the  importation  of  negroes.  Even 
in  granting  the  importation  for  twenty  years,  care  had  been 
taken  to  make  us  pay  for  this  indulgence,  each  negro  being 
liable,  on  importation,  to  pay  a  duty  not  exceeding  ten  dol 
lars ;  and,  in  addition  to  this,  they  were  liable  to  a  capitation 
tax.  Negroes  were  our  wealth,  our  only  natural  resource ; 
yet  behold  how  our  kind  friends  in  the  north  were  deter 
mined  soon  to  tie  up  our  hands,  and  drain  us  of  what  we 
had !  The  Eastern  States  drew  their  means  of  subsistence, 
in  a  great  measure,  from  their  shipping;  and,  on  that  head, 
they  had  been  particularly  careful  not  to  allow  of  any  bur- 
dens :  they  were  not  to  pay  tonnage  or  duties ;  no,  not  even 
the  form  of  clearing  out :  all  ports  were  free  and  open  to 
them!  Why,  then,  call  this  a  reciprocal  bargain,  which  took 
all  from  one  party,  to  bestow  it  on  the  other ! 

Major  BUTLER  observed,  that  they  were  to  pay  five  [XJi 
cent,  impost. 

This,  Mr.  LOWNDES  proved,  must  fall  upon  the  con- 
sumer.    They  are   to  be  the  carriers;  and,  we  being  the 
consumers,  therefore  all   expenses  would  fall  upon  us.     A 
great  number  of  gentlemen  were  captivated  with  this  nenv 
Constitution,  because  those  who  were  in  debt  would  be  conk 
pelled  to  pay ;  others  pleased  themselves  with  the  reflectloii  / 
that  no  more  confiscation  laws  would  l)e  passed ;  but  those 
were  small  advantages,  in  proportion  to  the  evils  that  might 
be  apprehended  from  the  laws  that  might  be  passed  by  Con- 
gress, whenever  there  was  a  majority  of  representatives  from 
the  Eastern  States,  who  w:ere  governed  by  prejudices  and 
ideas  extre.nely  different  from  ours.     He  was  afraid,  in  the 
present  instance,  that  so  much  partiality  prevailed  for  this 
new  Constitution,  that  opposition  from  him  would  be  fruit- 
loss  :  however,  he  felt  so  much  the  importance  of  the  subject,, 
that  he  hoped  the  house  would  indulge  him  in  a  few  words,, 
to  take  a  view,  comparatively,  of  the  old  constitution  and- 
the  new  one,  in  point  of  modesty.     Congress,  lalwring  under- 
many  dif!iculties,  asked  to  regulate  commerce  for  twenty-one- 
years,  when  the  power  reverted  into  the  hamls  of  those  who> 
originally  gave  it ;  but  this  infallible  new  Constitution  eased 
«is  of  any  more  trouble,  for  it  was  to  regulate  commerce  ad 
infinitum ;  and  thus  called  upon  us  to  pledge  ourselves  and 
VOL.  IV.  33 

274  DEBATES.  [Rutlbdgb. 

posterity,  forever,  iu  support  of  their  measures ;  so  when  our 
lociil  legislature  had  dwindled  down  to  the  confined  powers 
of  a  corporation,  we  should  he  liable  to  taxes  and  exrise ; 
not,  perhaps,  payable  in  paper,  but  in  specie.  However, 
they  need  not  be  uneasy,  since  every  thing  would  be  managed 
in  future  by  great  men ;  and  great  men,  every  body  knew, 
were  incapable  of  acting  under  mistake  or  prejudice:  they 
were  infallible;  so  that  if,  at  any  future  period,  we  should 
smart  under  laws  which  bore  hard  upon  us,  and  think  proper 
to  remonstrate,  the  answer  would  probably  be,  "Go:  you 
are  totally  incapable  of  managing  for  yourselves.  Go  :  mind 
your  private  affairs;  trouble  not  yourselves  with  public  con- 
cerns—  'Mind  your  business.'"  The  latter  expression  was 
already  the  motto  of  some  coppers  in  circulation,  and  he 
thought  it  would  soon  be  the  style  of  language  held  out  to- 
wards the  Southern  States.  The  honorable  member  apolo- 
gized for  going  into  the  merits  of  this  new  Constitution, 
when  it  was  ultimately  to  be  decided  on  by  another  tribu- 
nal; but  understanding  that  he  differed  in  opinion  with  his 
constituents,  who  were  opposed  to  electing  any  person  as  a 
member  of  the  Convention  that  did  not  approve  of  the  pro- 
posed plan  of  government,  he  should  not  therefore  have  an 
opportunity  of  expressing  those  sentiments  which  occurred 
to  him  on  considerinjj  the  plan  for  a  new  federal  government. 
But  if  it  was  sanctioned  by  the  people,  it  would  have  his 
hearty  concurrence  and  sup|)ort.  He  was  very  much,  origi- 
nally, against  a  declaration  of  independency  ;  he  also  opposed 
the  instalment  law;  but  when  they  received  the  approbation 
of  the  people,  it  became  his  duty,  as  a  good  citizen,  to  pro- 
mote their  due  observance. 

Hon.  E.  RUTLEDGE  was  astonished  to  hear  the  honor- 
able gentleman  pass  such  eulogium  on  the  old  Confederation, 
and  prefer  it,  as  he  had  done,  to  the  one  before  the  house. 
For  his  part,  he  thought  that  Confederation  so  very  weak,  so 
very  inadequate  to  the  purposes  of  the  Union,  that,  unless  it 
was  materially  altered,  the  sun  of  American  inde|)endence 
would  indeed  soon  set  —  never  to  rise  again.  What  could 
be  effected  for  America  under  that  highly-extolled  constitu- 
tion ?  Could  it  obtain  security  for  our  commerce  in  any 
parr  of  the  world  ?  Could  it  force  obedience  to  any  one 
law  of  the  Union?  Could  it  obtain  one  shilling  of  money 
for  rhe  discharge  of  the  most  honorable  obligations?     The 


honorable  gentleman  knew  it  could  not.  Was  there  a  single 
power  in  Europe  that  would  lend  us  a  guinea  on  the  faith 
of  that  Confederation?  or  could  we  borrow  one  on  the  pub- 
lic faith  of  our  own  citizens  ?  The  people  of  America  had 
seen  these  things ;  they  had  felt  the  consequences  of  this 
feeble  government,  if  that  deserved  the  name  of  government 
which  had  no  power  to  enforce  laws  founded  on  solemn  com- 
pact ;  and  it  was  under  the  influence  of  those  feelings  that 
with  almost  one  voice,  they  had  called  for  a  different  govern- 
ment. But  the  honorable  gentleman  had  said  that  this  gov- 
ernment hud  carried  us  gloriously  through  the  last  war.  Mr. 
Rutledge  denied  the  assertion.  It  was  true  we  had  passed 
gloriously  through  the  war  while  the  Confederation  was  in 
existence ;  but  that  success  was  not  to  be  attributed  to  the 
Confederation  ;  it  was  to  be  attributed  to  the  firm  and  uncon- 
querable spirit  of  the  people,  who  were  determined,  at  the 
hazard  of  every  consequence,  to  oppose  a  submission  to  Brit- 
ish government;  it  was  to  be  attributed  to  the  armaments 
of  an  ally,  and  the  pecuniary  assistance  of  our  friends:  these 
were  the  wings  on  which'  we  were  carried  so  triumphantly 
through  the  war;  and  not  this  wretched  Confederation,  which 
is  unable,  by  universal  acknowledgment,  to  obtain  a  dis- 
charge of  any  part  of  our  debts  in  the  hour  of  the  most 
perfect  domestic  tranquillity.  What  benefits,  then,  are  to  be 
expected  from  such  a  constitution  in  the  day  of  danger? 
Without  a  ship,  without  a  soldier,  without  a  shilling  in  the 
federal  treasury,  and  without  a  nervous  government  to  obtain 
one,  we  hold  the  property  that  we  now  enjoy  at  the  courtesy 
of  other  powers.  VVas  this  such  a  tenure  as  was  suitable  to 
the  inclinations  of  our  constituents  ?  It  certainly  was  not. 
They  had  called  upon  us  to  change  their  situation,  and  we 
should  betray  their  interest,  and  our  own  honor,  if  we  neg- 
lected it.  But  the  gentleman  has  said  that  there  were 
points  in  this  new  confederation  which  would  endanger  the 
rights  of  the  people  —  that  the  President  and  ten  senators 
may  make  treaties,  and  that  the  balance  between  the  states 
was  not  sufficiently  preserved  —  that  he  is  for  limiting  the 
powers  of  Congress,  so  that  they  shall  not  be  able  to  do 
any  harm ;  for,  if  they  have  the  power  to  do  any  harm, 
they  miy.  To  this  Mr.  Rutledge  observed,  that  the  greatest 
part  of  the  honorable  gentleman's  objection  was  founded  on 
an  opinion  that  the  choice  of  the  people  would  fall  on  the 
most  worthless  and  the  most   negligent  part  of  the  com 


inunity ;  but  if  it  was  to  be  admitted,  it  would  go  to  the 
withholding  of  all  power  from  all  public  l)odies.  The  gen- 
tleman would  have  done  well  to  have  defined  the  kind  of 
power  that  could  do  no  harm.  The  very  idea  of  power  inclu- 
ded a  possibility  of  doing  harm  ;  and  if  the  gentleman  would 
show  the  power  that  could  do  no  harm,  he  would  at  once 
discover  it  to  be  a  power  which  could  do  no  good.  To 
argue  against  the  use  of  a  thing  from  the  abuse  of  it,  had 
long  since  been  exploded  by  all  sensible  people.  It  was 
true  that  the  President,  with  the  concurrence  of  two  thirds 
of  the  Senate,  might  make  treaties;  and  it  was  possible  that 
ten  senators  might  constitute  the  two  thirds,  but  it  was  just 
within  the  reach  of  possibility,  and  a  possibility  from  whence 
no  danger  could  be  apprehended.  If  the  President  or  the 
senators  abused  their  trust,  they  were  liable  to  impeachment 
and  punishment ;  and  the  fewer  that  were  concerned  in  the 
abuse  of  the  trust,  the  more  certain  would  be  the  punishment. 
In  the  formation  of  this  article,  the  delegates  had  done  their 
duty  fully ;  they  had  provided  that  two  thirds  of  the  Senate 
should  concur  in  the  making  of  treaties.  If  the  states  should 
be  negligent  in  sending  their  senators,  it  would  be  their  own 
fault,  and  the  injury  would  be  theirs,  not  the  framers  of  the 
Constitution  ;  but  if  they  were  not  negligent,  they  would 
have  more  than  their  share.  Is  it  not  astonishing  that  the 
gentleman  who  is  so  strenuous  an  advocate  for  the  powers 
of  the  people,  should  distrust  the  people  the  moment  that 
power  is  given  to  them,  and  should  found  his  objections  to 
this  article  in  the  corruption  of  the  representatives  of  the 
people,  and  in  the  negligence  of  the  people  themselves?  If 
such  objections  as  these  have  any  weight,  they  tend  to  the 
destruction  of  all  confidence  —  the  withholding  of  all  power 
—  the  annihilation  of  all  government.  Mr.  Rutledge  insist 
ed  that  we  had  our  full  share  in  the  House  of  Represent- 
atives, and  that  the  gentleman's  fears  of  the  northern  interest 
prevailing  at  all  times  were  ill-founded.  The  Constitution 
had  provided  for  a  census  of  the  people,  and  the  number  of 
representatives  was  to  be  directed  by  the  numl)er  of  the 
people  in  the  several  states ;  this  clause  was  highly  favorable 
to  the  southern  interest.  Several  of  the  Northern  States 
were  already  full  of  people:  it  was  otherwise  with  us;  the 
migrations  to  the  south  were  immense,  and  we  should,  in  the 
course  of  a  few  years,  rise  high  in  our  representation,  whiUt 


other  states  would  keep  their  present  position.  Gentlemeu 
should  carry  their  views  into  futurity,  and  not  confine  them- 
selves to  the  narrow  limits  of  a  day,  when  contemplating  a 
subject  of  such  vast  importance.  The  gentleman  had  com- 
plained of  the  inequality  of  the  taxes  between  the  Northern 
and  Southern  States ;  that  ten  dollars  a  head  was  imposed 
on  the  importation  of  negroes  ;  and  that  those  negroes  were 
afterwards  taxed.  To  this  it  was  answered,  that  the  ten 
dollars  per  head  was  an  equivalent  to  the  five  per  cent,  on 
imported  articles ;  and  as  to  their  l)eing  afterwards  taxed, 
the  advantage  is  on  our  side,  or,  at  least,  not  against  us. 

In  the  Northern  States  the  labor  is  performed  by  white 
people,  in  the  Southern  by  black.  All  the  free  people  (and 
there  are  few  others)  in  the  Northern  States  are  to  be  taxed 
by  the  new  Constitution ;  whereas  only  the  free  people,  and 
two  fifths  of  the  slaves,  in  the  Southern  States,  are  to  be 
rated,  in  the  apportioning  of  taxes.  But  the  principal  objec- 
tion is,  that  no  duties  are  laid  on  shipping ;  that,  in  fact,  the 
carrying  trade  was  to  be  vested,  in  a  great  measure,  in  the 
Americans;  that  the  ship-building  business  was  principally 
carried  on  in  the  Northern  States.  When  this  subject  is 
duly  considered,  the  Southern  States  should  be  the  last  to 
object  to  it.  Mr.  Rutledge  then  went  into  a  consideration 
of  the  subject ;  after  which  the  house  adjourned. 

Thursday,  January  17,   1788. 

served,  that  the  honorable  gentleman  (Mr.  Lowndes)  who 
opposed  the  new  Constitution  had  asserted  that  treaties  made 
under  the  old  Confederation  were  not  deemed  p-irainoniit  to 
the  laws  of  the  land,  and  that  treaties  made  by  the  king  of 
Great  Britain  required  the  ratification  of  ParliamtMit  to  ren- 
der them  valid.  The  honorable  gentleman  is  surely  mistaken 
in  his  assertion.  His  honorable  friend  (Chancellor  Rut- 
ledge)  hnd  clearly  shown  that,  by  the  6th,  9th,  and  13th 
Articles  of  the  old  Confederation,  Congress  have  a  power  to 
make  treaties,  and  each  state  is  pledged  to  observe  them  ; 
and  it  appears,  from  the  debates  of  the  English  Parliament, 
that  the  House  of  Commons  did  not  ratify,  but  actually  cen- 
sure, the  peace  made  by  the  king  of  Great  Britain  with 
America ;  yet  the  very  members  who  censured  it  acknowl- 
edged it   was  binding  on  the  nation.     [Here  the  general 


*276  .  DEBATES.  [Piwcknet 

read  extracts  from  the  parliamentary  debates  of  the  17th  and 
21st  of  February,  1784.]  Indeed,  the  doctrine  that  the  king 
of  Great  Britain  may  make  a  treaty  with  a  foreign  state, 
which  shall  irrevocably  bind  his  subjects,  is  asserted  by  the 
best  writers  on  the  laws  and  constitution  of  England  —  par- 
ticularly by  Judge  Blackstone,  who,  in  the  first  book  of  his 
Commentaries,  (ch.  7,  p.  257,)  declares  "  that  it  is  the  king's 
prerogative  to  make  treaties,  leagues,  and  alliances,  with 
foreign  states  and  prhices,  and  that  no  other  power  in  the 
kingdom  can  legally  delay,  resist,  or  annul  them."  If  trea- 
ties entered  into  by  Congress  are  not  to  be  held  in  the  same 
sacred  light  in  America,  what  foreign  nation  will  have  any 
confidence  in  us  ?  Shall  we  not  be  stigmatized  as  a  faith- 
less, unworthy  people,  if  each  member  of  the  Union  may, 
with  impunity,  violate  the  engagements  entered  into  by  the 
federal  government?  Who  will  confide  in  us?  Who  will 
treat  with  us  if  our  practice  should  be  conformable  to  this 
doctrine  ?  Have  we  not  been  deceiving  all  nations,  by  hold- 
ing forth  to  the  world,  in  the  9th  Article  of  the  old  Confeder- 
ation, that  Congress  may  make  treaties,  if  we,  at  the  same 
time,  entertain  this  improper  tenet,  that  each  state  may  vio- 
late them  ?  I  contend  that  the  article  in  the  new  Constitu- 
tion, which  says  that  treaties  shall  be  paramount  to  the  laws 
of  the  land,  is  only  declaratory  of  what  treaties  were,  in  fact, 
under  the  old  compact.  They  were  as  much  the  law  of  the 
land  under  that  Confederation,  as  they  are  under  this  Con- 
stitution ;  and  we  shall  be  unworthy  to  be  ranked  among 
civilized  nations  if  we  do  not  consider  treaties  in  this  view. 
Vattel,  one  of  the  best  writers  on  the  law  of  nations,  says, 
"  There  would  be  no  more  security,  no  longer  any  commerce 
between  mankind,  did  they  not  believe  themselves  obliged 
to  preserve  their  faith,  and  to  keep  their  word.  Nations, 
and  their  conductors,  ought,  then,  to  keep  their  promises  and 
their  treaties  inviolable.  This  great  truth  is  acknowledged 
by  all  nations.  Nothing  adds  so  great  a  glory  to  a  prince 
and  the  nation  he  governs,  as  the  reputation  of  an  inviolable 
fidelity  to  his  engagements.  By  this,  and  their  bravery,  the 
Swiss  have  rendered  themselves  respectable  throughout 
Europe.  This  national  greatness  of  soul  is  the  source  of 
immortal  glory  ;  upon  it  is  founded  the  confidence  of  nations, 
and  it  thus  becomes  a  certain  instrument  of  power  and  splen- 
dor."    Surely  this  doctrine  is  right ;  it  speaks  to  the  heart , 


It  impresses  itself  on  the  feelings  of  mankind,  and  convmces 
us  that  the  tranquillity,  happiness,  and  prosperity,  of  the 
human  race,  depend  on  inviolably  preserving  the  faith  of 

Burlamaqui,  another  writer  of  great  reputation  on  politi- 
cal law,  says  "that  treaties  are  obligatory  on  the  subjects 
of  the  powers  who  enter  into  treaties ;  they  arc  obligatory 
as  conventions  between  the  contracting  powers ;  but  they 
have  the  force  of  law  with  respect  to  their  subjects."  These 
are  his  wry  words  :  "  lis  out  force  de  hi  a  Pegard  des  sujetSy 
considerts  comme  tels;  and  it  is  very  manifest,"  continues 
he,  "  that  two  sovereigns,  who  enter  into  a  treaty,  impose, 
by  such  treaty,  an  obligation  on  their  subjects  to  conform  to 
it,  and  in  no  manner  to  contravene  it."  It  is  remarkable 
that  the  words  made  use  of  by  Burlamaqui  establish  the  doc- 
trine, recognized  by  the  Constitution,  that  treaties  shall  be 
considered  as  the  law  of  the  land ;  and  happy  will  it  be  for 
America  if  they  shall  be  always  so  considered  :  we  shall  then 
avoid  the  disputes,  the  tumults,  the  frequent  wars,  we  must 
inevitably  be  engaged  in,  if  we  violate  treaties.  By  our 
treaty  with  France,  we  declare  she  shall  have  all  the  privi- 
leges, in  matters  of  commerce,  with  the  most  favored  nation. 
Sup[X)se  a  particular  state  should  think  proper  to  g:rant  a 
particular  privilege  to  Holland,  which  she  refuses  to  France ; 
would  not  this  be  a  violation  of  the  treaty  with  France  ?  It 
certainly  would ;  and  we  in  this  state  would  be  answerable 
for  the  consequences  attending  such  violation  by  another 
state  ;  for  we  do  not  enter  into  treaties  as  separate  states, 
but  as  united  states;  and  all  the  members  of  the  Union  are 
answerable  for  the  breach  of  a  treaty  by  any  one  of  them. 
South  Carolina,  therefore,  considering  its  situation,  and  the 
valuable  produce  it  has  to  export,  is  particularly  interested  in 
maintaining  the  sacredness  of  treaties,  and  the  good  faith  with 
which  they  should  be  observed  by  every  member  of  the 
Union.  But  the  honorable  gentleman  complains  that  the 
power  of  making  treaties  is  vested  in  the  President  and 
.Senate,  and  thinks  it  is  not  placed  so  safely  with  them  as 
with  the  Congress  under  the  old  Confederation.  Let  us 
examine  this  objection.  By  the  old  Confederation,  each 
state  had  an  equal  vote  in  Congress,  and  no  treaty  could  be 
made  without  the  assent  of  the  delegates  from  nine  states. 
By  the  present  Constitution,  each  state  sends  two  member? 

286  DEBATES.  [PiNCKNEv. 

to  u\e  Senate,  who  vote  per  capita ;  and  the  President  has 
power,  with  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  to  make 
treaties,  provided  two  thirds  of  the  Senate  present  concur. 
This  inconvenience  attended  the  old  method :  it  was  fre- 
quently difficult  to  obtain  a  representation  from  nine  states  ; 
and  if  only  nine  states  were  present,  they  must  all  concur 
in  making  a  treaty.  A  single  member  would  frequently  pre- 
vent the  business  from  being  concluded  ;  and  if  he  absented 
himself,  Congress  had  no  power  to  compel  his  attendance. 
This  actually  happened  when  a  treaty  of  importance  was 
about  to  be  concluded  w^ith  the  Indians ;  and  several  states, 
being  satisfied,  at  particular  junctures,  that  the  nine  states 
present  would  not  concur  in  sentiments  on  the  subject  of  a 
treaty,  were  indifferent  whether  their  members  attended  or 
not.  But  now  that  the  senators  vote  individually,  and  not 
by  states,  each  state  will  be  anxious  to  keep  a  full  represen- 
tation in  the  Senate  ;  and  the  Senate  has  now  power  to  com- 
pel the  attendance  of  its  own  members.  We  shall  thus 
have  no  delay,  and  business  will  be  conducted  in  a  fuller 
representation  of  the  states  than  it  hitherto  has  been.  All 
ihe  members  of  the  Convention,  who  had  served  in  Con- 
gress, were  so  sensible  of  the  advantage  attending  this  mode 
of  voting,  that  the  measure  was  adopted  unanimously.  For 
my  own  part,  I  think  it  infinitely  preferable  to  the  old  method. 
So  much  for  the  manner  of  voting. 

Now  let  us  consider  whether  the  power  of  making  treaties 
is  not  as  securely  placed  as  it  was  before.  It  was  formerly 
vested  in  Congress,  who  were  a  body  constituted  by  the 
legislatures  of  the  different  states  in  equal  proportions.  At 
present,  it  is  vested  in  a  President,  who  is  chosen  by  the 
people  of  America,  and  in  a  Senate,  whose  members  are 
chosen  by  the  state  legislatures,  each  legislature  choosing  two 
members.  Surely  there  is  greater  security  in  vesting  this 
power  as  the  present  Constitution  has  vested  it,  than  in  any 
other  l)ody.  Would  the  gentleman  vest  it  in  the  President 
alone  ?  If  he  would,  his  assertion  that  the  power  we  have 
granted  was  as  dangerous  as  the  power  vested  by  Parliament 
in  the  proclamations  of  Henry  VIII.,  might  have  been,  per- 
haps, warranted.  Would  he  vest  it  in  the  House  of  Repre- 
sentatives ?  Can  secrecy  be  expected  in  sixty-five  members  ? 
The  idea  is  absurd.  Besides,  their  sessions  will  probablv 
last  only  two  or  three  months  in  the  year  ;  therefore,  on  thai 


account,  they  would  be  a  very  unfit  body  for  negotiation 
whereas  the  Senate,  from  the  smallness  of  its  numbers,  from 
the  equality  of  power  which  each  state  has  in  it,  from  the 
length  of  time  for  which  its  membt)rs  are  elected,  from  the 
long  sessions  they  may  have  without  any  great  inconveniency 
to  themselves  or  constituents,  joined  with  the  president,  who 
is  the  federal  head  of  the  United  States,  form  together  a 
body  in  whom  can  be  best  and  most  safely  vested  the  diplo- 
matic power  of  the  Union. 

General  Pinckney  then  observed,  that  the  honorable 
gentleman  had  not  conducted  his  arguments  with  his  usual 
candor.  He  had  made  use  of  many  which  were  not  well 
founded,  and  were  only  thrown  out  ad  captandum.  Why 
say,  upon  this  occasion,  that  every  thing  would,  in  future,  be 
managed  by  great  men,  and  that  great  men  could  do  no 
wrong  ?  Under  the  new  Constitution,  the  abuse  of  power 
was  more  effectually  checked  than  under  the  old  one.  A 
proper  body,  immediately  taken  from  the  people,  and  return- 
able to  the  people  every  second  year,  are  to  impeach  those 
who  behave  amiss,  or  betray  their  public  trust ;  another  body, 
taken  from  the  state  legislatures,  are  to  try  them.  No  man, 
however  great,  is  exempt  from  impeachment  and  trial.  If 
the  representatives  of  the  people  think  he  ought  to  be  im- 
[)eache^  and  tried,  the  President  carniot  pardon  him ;  and 
ihis  great  man  himself,  whom  the  honorable  g:entleman  pre- 
tends to  he  so  much  afraid  of,  as  well  as  the  Vice-President, 
and  all  civil  officers  of  the  United  States,  are  to  be  removed 
from  office  on  impeachment  and  conviction  of  treason,  bri- 
bery, or  other  high  crimes  and  misdemeanors.  Then  why 
make  use  of  arguments  to  occasion  improper  jealousies  and 
ill-founded  fears  ?  Why  is  the  invidious  distinction  of  "  great 
men  "  to  be  reiterated  in  the  ears  of  the  members  ?  Is  there 
any  thing  in  the  Constitution  which  prevents  the  President 
and  senators  from  being  taken  from  the  poor  as  well  as  the 
rich  ?  Is  there  any  pecuniary  qualification  necessary  to  the 
holding  of  any  office  under  the  new  Constitution  ?  There 
is  not.  Merit  and  virtue,  and  federal  principles,  are  the 
qualifications  which  will  prefer  a  poor  man  to  office,  before 
a  rich  man  who  is  destitute  of  them.  The  gentleman  has 
made  a  warm  panegyric  on  the  old  Confederation.  Can  he 
possibly  be  serious,  and  does  he  really  think  it  can  secure  us 
tranquillity  at  home,  or  respect  abroad  ?     Ask  the  citizcn» 

VOL.  IV.  3fi 


ol  Massachusetts  if  the  Confederation  protected  them  dur- 
ing the  insurrection  of  Shays.  Ask  the  crews  of  our  vessels 
captured  by  the  Algerines  if  respect  for  our  government  hath 
softened  the  rigors  of  their  captivity.  Inquire  of  our  dele 
gates  to  Congress  if  all  the  despatches  from  your  public 
ministers  are  not  filled  with  lamentations  of  the  imbecility 
of  Congress ;  and  whether  foreign  nations  do  not  declare 
they  can  have  no  confidence  in  our  government,  because  it 
has  not  power  to  enforce  obedience  to  treaties.  Go  through 
each  state  in  the  Union,  and  be  convinced  that  a  disregard 
for  law  hath  taken  the  place  of  order,  and  that  Congress  is 
so  slighted  by  all  of  them  that  not  one  hath  complied  with 
her  requisitions.  Every  state  in  the  Union,  except  Rhode 
Island,  was  so  thoroughly  convinced  that  our  government 
was  inadequate  to  our  situation,  that  all,  except  her,  sent 
members  to  the  Convention  at  Philadelphia.  General 
Pinckney  said,  it  had  been  alleged  that,  when  there,  they 
exceeded  their  powers.  He  thought  not.  They  had  a 
right,  he  apprehended,  to  propose  any  thing  which  they 
imagined  would  strengthen  the  Unign,  and  be  for  the  ad- 
vantage of  our  country  ;  but  they  did  not  pretend  to  a  right 
to  determine  finally  upon  any  thing.  The  present  Constitu- 
tion is  but  a  proposition  which  the  people  may  reject ;  but 
he  conjured  them  to  reflect  seriously  before  they  did  reject 
it,  as  he  did  not  think  our  state  would  obtain  better  terms 
by  another  convention,  and  the  anarchy  which  would,  in  all 
probability,  be  the  consequence  of  rejecting  this  Constitu- 
tion, would  encourage  some  daring  des|x>t  to  seize  upon  the 
government,  and  etTectually  deprive  us  of  our  liberties. 

Every  member  who  attended  the  Convention  was,  from 
the  beginning,  sensible  of  the  necessity  of  giving  greater 
powers  to  the  federal  government.  This  was  the  very  pur- 
pose for  which  they  were  convened.  The  delegations  of 
Jersey  and  Delaware  were,  at  first,  averse  to  this  organiza- 
tion ;  but  they  afterwards  acquiesced  in  it ;  and  the  con- 
duct of  their  delegates  has  been  so  \ovy  agreeable  to  the 
people  of  these  states,  that  their  respective  conventions  have 
unanimously  adopted  the  Constitution.  As  we  have  found 
It  necessary  lu  give  very  extensive  powers  to  the  federal 
government  both  over  the  persons  and  estates  of  the  citi- 
zens, we  thought  it  right  to  draw  one  branch  of  the  legisla- 
ture immediately  from  the  people,  and  that  both  wealth  anil 


numbers  should  be  considered  in  the  representation.  vVe 
were  at  a  loss,  for  some  time,  for  a  rule  to  ascertain  the 
proportionate  wealth  of  the  states.  At  last  we  thought  that 
the  productive  labor  of  the  inhabitants  was  the  best  rule  for 
ascertaining  their  wealth.  In  conformity  to  this  rule,  joined 
to  a  spirit  of  concession,  we  determined  that  representatives 
should  be  apportioned  among  the  several  states,  by  adding 
to  the  whole  number  of  free  persons  three  fifths  of  the  slaves. 
We  thus  obtained  a  representation  for  our  property  ;  and  I 
confess  I  did  not  expect  that  we  had  conceded  too  much  to 
the  Eastern  States,  when  they  allowed  us  a  representation 
^or  a  species  of  property  which  they  have  not  among  them. 
The  numbers  in  the  different  states,  according  to  the 
most  accurate  accounts  we  could  obtain,  were  — 

In  New  Hampshire 102,000 

Massachusetts, 360,000 

Rhode  Island, 58,000 

Connecticut 202,000 

New  York 23:3,000 

New  Jersey, 138,000 

Pennsylvania, 360,000 

Delaware, 37,000 

Maryland,  (including  three  fifths  of  80,000  negroes,)      .     .  218,000 

Virginia,  (including  three  fifths  of  280,000  negroes,)      .     .  420,000 

N.  Carolina,  (including  three  fifths  of  60,000  negroes,)  .     .  200,000 

S.  Carolina,  (including  three  fifths  of  80,000  negroes,)  .     .  150,000 

Georgia,  (including  three  fifths  of  20,000  negroes,)   .     .     .  90,000 

The  first  House  of  Representatives  will  consist  of  sixty- 
five  members.  South  Carolina  will  send  five  of  them.  Each 
state  has  the  same  representation  in  the  Senate  that  she  has 
at  present;  so  that  South  Carolina  will  have,  under  the  new 
Constitution,  a  thirteenth  share  in  the  government,  which  is 
the  proportion  she  has  under  the  old  Confederation :  and 
when  it  is  considered  that  the  Eastern  States  are  full  of 
men,  and  that  we  must  necessarily  increase  rapidly  to  the 
southward  and  south-westward,  he  did  not  think  that  the 
Southern  States  will  have  an  inadequate  share  in  the  repre- 
sentation. The  honorable  gentleman  alleges  that  the 
Southern  States  are  weak.  I  sincerely  agree  with  him. 
VVe  are  so  weak  that  by  ourselves  we  could  not  form  a  union 
strong  enough  for  the  purpose  of  effectually  protecting  each 
other.  Without  union  with  the  other  states,  South  Carolina 
must  soon  fall.      Is  there  any  one  among  us  so  much  a 


Quixote  as  to  suppose  that  this  state  could  long  maintain  her 
independence  if  she  stood  alone,  or  was  only  connected  with 
the  Southern  States  ?  I  scarcely'  believe  there  is.  Let  an 
invading  power  send  a  naval  force  into  the  Chesapeake  to 
keep  Virginia  in  alarm,  and  attack  South  Carolina  with  such 
a  naval  and  military  force  as  Sir  Henry  Clinton  brought  hefe 
in  1780;  and  though  they  might  not  soon  conquer  us,  they 
would  certainly  do  us  an  infinite  deal  of  mischief;  and  if 
they  considerably  increased  their  numbers,  we  should  proba- 
bly fall.  As,  from  the  nature  of  our  climate  and  the  fewness 
of  our  inhabitants,  we  are  undoubtedly  weak,  should  we  not 
endeavor  to  form  a  close  union  with  the  Eastern  States,  who 
are  strong  ?  And  ought  we  not  to  endeavor  to  increase  that 
species  of  strength  which  will  render  them  of  most  service  to 
us  both  in  peace  and  war  ?  —  I  mean  their  navy.  We  cer- 
tainly ought ;  and  by  doing  this  we  render  it  their  particular 
interest  to  afford  us  every  assistance  in  their  power,  as  every 
wound  that  we  receive  will  eventually  affect  them.  Reflect, 
for  a  moment,  on  the  situation  of  the  Eastern  States ;  their 
country  full  of  inhabitants,  and  so  impracticable  to  an  invad- 
ing enemy  by  their  numberless  stone  walls,  and  a  variety  of 
other  circumstances,  that  they  can  be  under  no  apprehension 
of  danger  from  an  attack.  They  can  enjoy  their  independ- 
ence without  our  assistance.  If  our  government  is  to  be 
founded  on  equal  compact,  what  inducement  can  they  possi- 
bly have  to  be  united  with  us,  if  we  do  not  grant  them  some 
privileges  with  regard  to  their  shipping?  Or,  supposing 
they  were  to  unite  with  us  without  having  these  privileges, 
can  we  flatter  ourselves  that  such  union  would  be  lasting,  or 
that  they  would  afford  us  effectual  assistance  when  invaded  ? 
Interest  and  policy  both  concurred  in  prevailing  upon  us  to 
submit  the  regulation  of  commerce  to  the  general  govern- 
ment. But  I  will  also  add,  justice  and  humanity  require  it 
likewise.  For  who  have  been  the  greatest  sufferers  in  the 
Union,  by  our  obtaining  our  independence?  I  answer,  the 
Eastern  States.  They  have  lost  every  thing  but  their  coun- 
try and  their  freedom.  It  is  notorious  that  some  ports  to  the 
eastward,  which  used  to  fit  out  one  hundred  and  fifty  sail  of 
vessels,  do  not  now  fit  out  thirty ;  that  their  trade  of  ship- 
building, which  used  to  be  very  considerable,  is  now  annihi- 
lated ;  that  their  fisheries  are  trifling,  and  their  mariners  in 
want  of  bread.     Surely  we  are  called  upon  by  every  tie  o 

PuicaNET.]  SOUTH  CAROLINA.  285 

justice,  friendship,  and  humanity,  to  relieve  their  distresses ; 
and  as,  by  their  exertions,  they  have  assisted  us  in  establish- 
ing our  freedom,  we  should  let  them,  in  some  measure, 
partake  of  our  prosperity.  The  general  then  said  he  would 
make  a  few  observations  on  the  objections  which  the  gentle- 
man had  thrown  out  on  the  restrictions  that  might  be  laid 
on  the  African  trade  after  the  year  1808.  On  this  point 
your  delegates  had  to  contend  with  the  religious  and  political 
prejudices  of  the  Eastern  and  Middle  States,  and  with  the 
interested  and  inconsistent  opinion  of  Virginia,  who  was 
warmly  opposed  to  our  importing  more  slaves.  I  am  of  the 
same  opinion  now  as  1  was  two  years  ago,  when  I  used  the 
expressions  the  gentleman  has  quoted  —  that,  while  there  re- 
mained one  acre  of  swamp-land  uncleared  of  South  Carolina, 
I  would  raise  my  voice  against  restricting  the  importation  of 
negroes.  I  am  as  thoroughly  convinced  as  that  gentleman 
is,  that  the  nature  of  our  climate,  and  the  flat,  swampy  situa- 
tion of  our  country,  obliges  us  to  cultivate  our  lands  with  ne- 
groes, and  that  without  them  South  Carolina  would  soon  bo 
a  desert  waste. 

You  have  so  frequently  heard  my  sentiments  on  this  sub- 
ject, that  I  need  not  now  repeat  them.  It  was  alleged,  by 
some  of  the  members  who  opposed  an  unlimited  importation, 
that  slaves  increased  the  weakness  of  any«tate  who  admitted 
them ;  that  they  were  a  dangerous  species  of  property,  which 
an  invading  enemy  could  easily  turn  agciinst  ourselves  and 
the  neighboring  states ;  and  that,  as  we  were  allowed  a  rep- 
resentation for  them  in  the  House  of  Representatives,  our 
influence  in  government  would  be  increased  in  proportion  as 
we  were  less  able  to  defend  ourselves.  "  Show  some 
period,"  said  ihe  members  from  the  Eastern  States,  "  when 
it  may  be  in  our  power  to  put  a  stop,  if  we  please,  to  the  im 
portation  of  this  Weakness,  and  we  will  endeavor,  for  y.oui 
convenience,  to  restrain,  the  religious  and  political  prejudices 
of  our  people  on  this  subject."  The  Middle  States  and  Vir- 
ginia made  us  no  such  proposition ;  they  were  for  an  im- 
mediate and  total  prohibition.  We  endeavored  to  obviate 
the  objections  that  were  made  in  the  best  manner  we  could, 
.ind  assigned  reasons  for  our  Insisting  on  the  importation, 
which  there  is  no  occasion  to  repeat,  as  they  must  occur  to 
every  gentleman  in  the  house :  a  committee  of  the  states 
WHS  appointed  in  order  to  accommodate  this  matter,  and 

"idS  DEBATES.  IPiNcaifBY 

after  a  great  deal  of  difficulty,  it  was  settled  on  the  footing 
recited  in  the  Constitution. 

By  this  settlement  we  have  secured  an  unlimited  importa- 
tion of  negroes  for  twenty  years.  Nor  is  it  declared  that  the 
importation  shall  be  then  stopped  ;  it  may  be  continued. 
We  have  a  security  that  the  general  government  can  never 
emancipate  them,  for  no  such  authority  is  granted  ;  and  it  is 
admitted,  on  all  hands,  that  the  general  government  has  no 
powers  but  what  are  expressly  granted  by  the  Constitution, 
and  that  all  rights  not  expressed  were  reserved  by  the  several 
states.  We  have  obtained  a  right  to  recover  our  slaves  in 
whatever  part  of  America  they  may  take  refuge,  which  is  a 
right  we  had  not  before.  In  short,  considering  all  circum- 
stances, we  have  made  the  best  terms  for  the  security  of  this 
species  of  property  it  was  in  our  power  to  make.  We  would 
have  made  better  if  we  could ;  but,  on  the  whole,  I  do  not 
think  thehi  bad. 

Dr.  DAVID  RAMSAY  thought  our  delegates  had  made 
a  most  excellent  bargain  for  us,  by  transferring  an  immense 
sum  of  Continental  debt,  which  we  were  pledged  to  pay, 
upon  the  Eastern  States,  some  of  whom  (Connecticut,  for 
instance)  could  not  expect  to  receive  any  material  advantage 
from  us.     He  considered  the  old  Confederation  as  dissolved. 

Hon.  JACOB  READ  looked  on  the  boasted  efficiency  of 
Congress  to  be  farcical,  and  instanced  two  cases  in  proof  of 
his  opinion.  One  was,  that,  when  the  treaty  should  have 
been  ratified,  a  sufficient  number  of  members  could  not  be 
collected  in  Congress  for  that  purpose  ;  so  that  it  was  neces- 
sary to  despatch  a  frigate,  at  the  expense  of  four  thousand 
dollars,  with  particular  directions  for  Mr,  Adams  to  use  his 
endeavors  to  gain  time.  His  application  proved  successful  ; 
oth«»rwise,  very  disagreeable  consequences  must  have  ensued. 
The  other  case  was,  a  party  of  Indians  came  to  Princeton 
for  the  purpose  of  entering  into  an  amicable  treaty  with  Con- 
gress ;  before  it  could  be  concluded,  a  member  went  to 
Philadelphia  to  be  married,  and  his  secession  had  nearly 
involved  the  western  country  in  all  the  miseries  of  war.  Mr. 
Read  urged  a  concurrence  with  those  states  that  were  in 
favor  of  the  new  Constitution. 

Hon.  CHARLES  PINCKNEY  observed,  that  the  honor- 
able gentleman  was  singular  in  his  op|X)sition  to  the  new 
Constitution,  and  equally  singular  in  his  profuse  praise  of  the 


old  one.  He  described,  with  much  good  sense,  the  imprac- 
ticability of  annexing  responsibility  to  the  office  of  President 
in  a  republican  form  of  government ;  the  only  remedy  against 
despotism  being  to  form  a  party  against  those  who  were 
obnoxious,  and  turn  them  out.  He  observed  that  the  Presi- 
dent's |X)wers  did  not  permit  him  to  declare  war. 

Hon.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES  declared  himself  almost 
willing  to  give  up  his  post,  finding  he  was  opposed  by  such 
a  phalanx  of  able  antagonists,  any  one  of  them  possessing 
sufficient  abilities  to  contend  with  him  ;  but  as  a  number  of 
respectable  members,  men  of  good  sense,  though  not  in  the 
habit  of  speaking  in  public,  had  requested  that  he  would  state 
his  sentiments,  for  the  purpose  of  gaining  information  on 
such  points  as  seemed  to  require  it,  —  rather  in  compliance, 
therefore,  with  their  wishes,  than  any  inclination  on  his  part, 
he  should  make  a  few  further  observations  on  the  subject. 
Much  had  been  said,  from  different  p  irts  of  the  house,  against 
the  old  Confederation  —  that  it  was  such  a  futile,  inefficient, 
impolitic  government  as  to  render  us  the  objects  of  ridicule 
and  contempt  in  the  eyes  of  other  nations.  He  could  not 
agree  to  this,  because  there  did  not  appear  any  evidence  of 
the  fact,  and  because  the  names  of  those  gentlernen  who  had 
signed  the  old  Confederation  were  eminent  for  patriotism, 
virtue,  and  wisdom,  —  as  much  so  as  any  set  of  men  that 
could  be  found  in  America,  —  and  their  prudence  and  wisdom 
particularly  appeared  in  the  care  which  they  had  taken 
sicredly  to  guaranty  the  sovereignty  of  each  state.  The 
treaty  of  peace  expressly  agreed  to  acknowledge  us  as  free, 
sovereign,  and  independent  states,  which  privileges  we  lived 
at  present  in  the  exercise  of.  But  this  new  Constitution  at 
once  swept  those  privileges  away,  being  sovereign  over  all ; 
so  that  this  state  would  dwindle  into  a  mere  skeleton  of  what 
it  was ;  its  legislative  powers  would  be  pared  down  to  little 
more  than  those  now  vested  in  the  corporation ;  and  he 
should  value  the  honor  of  a  sent  in  the  legislature  in  no 
higher  estimation  than  a  seat  in  the  city  council.  Adverting 
to  the  powers  given  to  the  President,  he  considerul  them  as 
enormous,  particularly  in  being  allowed  to  interfere  in  the 
election  of  members  in  the  House  of  Representatives ;  aston- 
ishing that  we  had  not  this  reserved  to  us,  when  the  senators 
were  to  \ye  chosen  from  that  body  :  —  thinks  it  might  be  so 
managed  that  the  different  legislatures  should  be  limited  to 
the  passing  a  few  laws  for  regulating  ferries  and  roads. 

288  DEBATES.  [LowNDu 

The  honorable  gentleman  went  into  an  investigation  of 
the  weight  of  our  representation  in  the  proposed  government, 
which  he  thought  would  be  merely  virtual,  similar  to  what 
we  were  allowed  in  England,  whilst  under  the  British  govern- 
ment. We  were  then  told  that  we  were  represented  in 
Parliament;  and  this  would,  in  the  event,  prove  just  such 
another.  The  mode  of  choosing  senators  was  exceedingly 
exceptionable.  It  had  been  the  practice  formerly  to  choose 
the  Senate  or  council  for  this  state  from  that  house,  which 
practice  proved  so  inconvenient  and  oppressive,  that,  when 
we  framed  our  present  Constitution,  great  care  was  taken  to 
vest  the  [X)wer  of  electing  the  Senate  originally  with  the 
people,  as  the  best  plan  for  securing  their  rights  and  privi- 
leges. He  wished  to  know  in  what  manner  it  was  proposed 
to  elect  the  five  representatives.  Was  it  to  be  done  in  this 
city?  or  would  some  districts  return  one  member,  and  others 
none  at  all  ? 

Still  greater  difficulties  would  be  found  in  the  choice  of  a 
President,  because  he  must  have  a  majority  of  ninety-one 
votes  in  his  favor.  For  the  first  President  there  was  one 
man  to  whom  all  America  looked  up,  (General  Washington,) 
and  for  whom  he  most  heartily  would  vote ;  but  after  that 
gentleman's  administration  ceased,  where  could  they  point 
out  another  so  highly  respected  as  to  concentre  a  majority 
of  ninety-one  persons  in  his  favor  ?  and  if  no  gentleman 
should  be  fully  returned,  then  the  government  must  stand 
still.  He  went  over  much  of  the  groimd  which  he  had  trod 
the  preceding  day,  relative  to  the  Eastern  States  having  l)een 
so  guarded  in  what  they  had  conceded  to  gain  the  regulation 
of  our  commerce,  which  threw  into  their  hands  the  carryin^: 
trade,  and  put  it  in  their  power  to  lay  us  under  payment  of 
whatever  freightag;e  they  thought  proper  to  impose.  It  was 
their  interest  to  do  so,  and  no  person  could  doubt  but  they 
would  promote  it  hy  every  means  in  their  power.  He 
wished  our  delegates  had  sufficiently  attended  to  this  point 
in  the  Convention  —  had  been  more  attentive  to  this  object, 
and  taken  care  to  have  it  expressed,  in  this  Constitution, 
that  all  our  ports  were  open  to  all  nations  ;  instead  of  put- 
ting us  in  the  power  of  a  set  of  men  who  may  fritter  away 
the  value  of  our  produce  to  a  little  or  nothing,  by  compelling 
payment  of  exorbitant  freightage.  Neither  did  he  believe 
it  was  in  the  power  of  the  Eastern  States  to  furnish  a  suf- 


ficient  number  of  ships  to  carry  our  produce.  It  was,  in- 
deed, a  general  way  of  talking,  that  the  Eistern  States  had 
a  great  number  of  seamen,  a  vast  number  of  ships  ;  but 
where  were  they?  Why  did  they  not  come  here  now, 
when  ships  are  greatly  wanted  ?  He  should  always  wish  to 
give  them  a  preference,  and  so,  no  doubt,  would  many  other 

fentlemen ;  and  yet  very  few  ships  come  here  from  the 
lastern  States.  Another  exceptionable  point  was,  that  we 
were  to  give  up  the  power  of  taxing  ourselves.  During  our 
connection  with  Great  Britain,  she  left  us  the  power  of  rais- 
ing money  in  any  way  most  convenient :  a  certain  sum  was 
only  required  to  defra};  the  public  wants,  but  no  mode  of 
collecting  it  ever  prescribed.  In  this  new  Constitution, 
every  thing  is  transferred,  not  so  much  power  being  left 
us  as  Lord  North  offered  to  guaranty  to  us  in  his  concili- 
atory plan.  Look  at  the  articles  of  union  ratified  between 
England  and  Scotland.  How  cautiously  had  the  latter  ta- 
ken care  of  her  interest  in  reserving  all  the  forms  of  law 

—  her  representation  in  Parliament  —  the  right  of  taxation 

—  the  management  of  her  revenue  —  and  all  her  local  and 
municipal  interests!  Why  take  from  us  the  right  of  paying 
our  delegates,  and  pay  them  from  the  federal  treasury  ?  He 
remembered  formerly  what  a  flame  was  raised  in  Massachu- 
setts, on  account  of  Great  Britain  assuming  the  payment  of 
salaries  to  judges  and  other  state  officers  ;  and  that  this  con- 
duct was  considered  as  originating  in  a  design  to  destroy 
the  independence  of  their  government.  Our  local  expenses 
had  been  nearly  defrayed  by  our  impost  duty  ;  but  now 
that  this  was  given  away,  and  thrown  into  a  general  fund, 
for  the  use  of  all  the  states  indiscriminately,  we  should  be 
obliged  to  augment  our  taxes  to  carry  on  our  local  govern- 
ment, notwithstanding  we  were  to  pay  a  poll  tax  for  our  ne- 
groes. Paper  money,  too,  was  another  article  of  restraint, 
and  a  popular  point  with  many ;  but  what  evils  had  we  ever 
experienced  by  issuing  a  little  paper  money  to  relieve  our- 
selves from  any  exigency  that  pressed  us  ?  We  had  now  a 
circulating:  medium  which  every  body  took.  We  used  for- 
merly to  issue  paper  bills  every  year,  and  recall  them  every 
five,  with  great  convenience  and  advantage.  Had  not  pa 
per  money  carried  us  triumphantly  through  the  war,  extri- 
cated us  from  difficulties  generally  supjx)sed  to  be  insur- 
ounm table,  and  fully  established  us  in  our  independence  i^ 

VOL.  IV.  37  25 


and  now  every  thing  is  so  changed  that  an  entire  stop  must 
be  put  to  any  tnore  paper  emissions,  however  great  our  dis- 
tress may  be.  It  was  true,  no  article  of  die  Constitution 
declared  there  should  not  be  jury  trials  in  civil  cases;  yet 
this  must  be  implied,  because  it  stated  that  all  crimes,  ex- 
cept in  cases  of  impeachment,  shall  be  tried  by  a  jury.  JJut 
even  if  trials  by  jury  were  allowed,  could  any  person  rest 
satisfied  with  a  mode  of  trial  which  prevents  the  parlies  from 
being  obliged  to  bring  a  cause  for  discussion  before  a  jury 
of  men  chosen  from  the  vicinage,  in  a  manner  conformable 
to  the  present  administration  of  justice,  which  had  stood  the 
test  of  time  and  experience,  and  evQjr  been  highly  approved 
of?  Mr.  Lowndes  expatiated  some  time  on  the  nature  of 
compacts,  the  sacred  light  in  which  they  were  held  by  all 
nations,  and  solemnly  called  on  the  house  to  consider  wheth- 
er it  would  not  be  better  to  add  strength  to  the  old  Confed- 
eration, instead  of  hastily  adopting  another ;  asking  whether 
a  man  could  be  looked  on  as  wise,  who,  possessing  a  mag- 
nificent building,  upon  discovering  a  flaw,  instead  of  re- 
^  pairing  the  injury,  should  pull  it  down,  and  build  another, 
indeed,  he  could  not  understand  with  what  propriety  the 
Convention  proceeded  to  change  the  Confederation  ;  for 
every  person  with  whom  he  had  conversed  on  this  subject 
concurred  in  opinion  that  the  sole  object  of  appointing  a 
convention  was  to  inquire  what  alterations  were  necessary 
in  the  Confederation,  in  order  that  it  might  answer  those 
salutary  purposes  for  which  it  was  originally  intended. 

He  recommended  that  another  convention  should  be  called  ; 
and  as  the  general  sense  of  America  appeared  now  to  be 
known,  every  objection  could  be  met  on  fair  grounds,  and 
adequate  remedies  applied  where  necessary.  This  mode  of 
proceeding  would  conciliate  all  parties,  because  it  was 
candid,  and  had  a  more  obvious  tendency  to  do  away  all 
inconveniences  than  the  adoption  of  a  government  which 
perhaps  might  require  the  liayonet  to  enforce  it ;  for  it 
could  not  he,  expected  that  the  people,  who  had  disregarded 
the  requisitions  of  Congress,  though  expressed  in  language 
the  most  elegant  and  forcible  that  he  ever  rememl)ered  to 
have  read,  would  be  more  obedient  to  the  government 
until  an  irresistible  force  compelled  th<»m  to  be  so.  Mr, 
Lowndes  concluded  a  lonjr  speech  with  a  glowing  eulogy  on 
the  old  Confederation,  and  challenged  his  opponents,  whilst 

Barmwell,)  south   CAROLINA.  29l 

one  state  objected,  to  get  over  that  section  which  said,  "  The 
Articles  of  this  Confederation  shall  be  inviolably  observed 
in  every  state,  and  the  Union  shall  be  per[)etual;  nor  shall 
any  alteration  at  any  time  hereafter  be  made  in  them,  unless 
such  alteration  be  agreed  to  m  a  Congress  of  the  United 
States,  and  be  afterwards  confirmed  by  the  legislature  of 
every  state." 

Hon.  ROBERT  BARNWELL  said,  although  he  had  been 
opposed  to  the  investigation  of  the  Federal  Constitution  at 
that  period,  and  in  that  house,  and  foretold  the  unneces- 
sary expenditure  of  lK)th  time  and  treasure  that  would  be 
occasioned  by  it,  yet  he  acknowledged  that,  if  individual 
information  upon  its  principles  could  by  any  means  be  a 
compensation  for  these  wastes,  he  should  be  extremely 
indebted  to  the  honorable  gentleman  for  the  opposition 
which  he  had  given.  Mr.  Barnwell  was  most  decidedly  in 
favor  of  the  Constitution  as  recommended  by  the  Convention, 
and  viewed  with  pleasure  the  small  sacrifices  of  interest, 
which,  in  his  opinion,  have  been  made  to  effect  it.  The 
arguments  which  had  been  adduced  by  the  honorable  gen- 
tleman in  opposition  had  riveted  his  affections  still  more 
firmly  to  it,  and  had  established  in  his  mind,  as  conviction, 
what  was  only  approbation  before.  If  he  did  not  view 
some  part  of  the  Constitution  through  a  medium  different 
from  any  of  the  gentlemen  who  had  spoken  before  him,  he 
should  not  have  troubled  this  house.  VVith  this  idea  he  rose, 
and  left  it  to  the  house  to  determine  whether  he  had  done 
his  duty  as  a  meml)er,  or  whether  he  had  unnecessarily 
contributed  to  the  interruption  of  the  business  before  them. 
When  he  foifnd  that  a  gentleman  of  such  acknowledged 
abilities,  and  of  so  great  experience,  was  opposed  to  the 
Constitution,  he  expected  a  train  of  reasoning,  and  a  power 
of  argument,  that  would  have  m  ide  the  federal  fabric  totter 
to  its  foundation.  But  to  him  they  rather  appeared  like 
those  storms  which  shake  the  edifice  to  fix  it  more  strongly 
on  its  basis.  To  give  his  reasons  for  this  opinion,  he  hegged 
the  indulgence  of  the  house  while  he  made  the  following 
ol)servatioii8  upon  the  principles  of  the  gentleman's  opposi- 
tion. In  the  first  instance,  it  appeared  to  him  that  the  gen- 
tleman had  established,  as  the  basis  of  his  ohj(»ctions,  thai 
the  Eastern  States  entertained  the  greatest  aversion  to  those 
which   lay   to   the    south,   and   would    endeavor   in   every 

292  DEBATES.  Barnwelu 

mstani  e  to  oppress  them.  This  idea  he  considered  as  found- 
ed in  prejudice,  and  unsupported  by  facts.  To  prove 
this  assertion,  Mr.  B.  requested  gentlemen  for  a  moment  to 
turn  their  attention  to  the  transactions  which  the  late  war 
has  engraved  upon  the  memory  of  every  man.  When  the 
arm  of  oppression  lay  heavy  on  us,  were  they  not  the  first  to 
arouse  themselves  ?  When  the  sword  of  civil  discord  was 
drawn,  were  they  not  the  first  in  the  field  ?  When  war  del- 
uged their  plains  with  blood,  what  was  their  language  ? 
Did  they  demand  the  southern  troops  to  the  defence  of  the 
north  ?  No !  Or,  when  war  floated  to  the  south,  did  they 
withhold  their  assistance  ?  The  answer  was  the  same. 
When  we  stood  with  the  spirit,  but  weakness,  of  youth, 
they  supported  us  with  the  vigor  and  prudence  of  age 
When  our  country  was  subdued,  when  our  citizens  submit 
ted  to  superior  power,  it  was  then  these  states  evinced  their 
attachment.  He  saw  not  a  man  who  did  not  know  that  the 
shackles  of  the  south  were  broken  asunder  by  the  arms  of 
the  north.  With  the  above-mentioned  supposition  of  op- 
pression, the  gentleman  had  objected  to  the  formation  of  the 
Senate ;  that  the  Confederation  required  nine  states  to 
ratify  matters  of  importance,  but  by  the  Constitution  a 
majority  of  fourteen  can  do  almost  any  thing.  That  this 
was  the  case  he  did  not  deny ;  but  the  conclusions  that  he 
had  drawn  were  by  no  means  consequential.  The  seven 
Eastern  States,  the  gentleman  had  said,  whose  interests 
were  similar,  will  unite  together,  and,  by  having  a  majority 
in  the  Senate,  will  do  what  they  please.  If  this  was  the 
case,  it  went  against  uniting  at  all ;  for,  if  he  was  not  mis- 
taken, the  interests  of  nine  of  the  United  States  are  almost 
the  same.  New  Hampshire,  Massachusetts,  Rhode  Island, 
Connecticut,  New  York,  New  Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  and 
Delaware,  are  very  similar  in  their  interests.  They  are 
most  of  them  entirely  carriers  for  others  ;  and  those  states 
which  are  exporting  ones  are  very  nearly  equal  to  the 
carrying  of  their  products  themselves.  Supposing,  then,  the 
desire  of  oppression  to  exist,  he  asked  if  they  could  not  do 
it  equally  as  well  under  the  Confederation  as  the  Constitu- 
tion. He  thought  so  ;  and,  as  the  gentleman's  arguments 
equally  lay  against  every  kind  of  coercive  government,  he 
was  of  opinion  that  the  Senate,  as  established  by  this 
Constitution,  was  the   most   proper.     Upon    this  head    he 

Barmwrll.)  south  CAROLINA.  293 

begged  permission  to  ask  these  questions :  If  the  oiajority 
was  in  the  Southern  States,  (which,  as  ten  is  a  majority, 
might  be  the  case,)  would  not  objections,  equally  forcible  as 
the  gentleman's,  lie  on  the  side  of  the  Eastern  States?  and 
yet  that,  in  all  governments,  a  majority  must  be  somewhere, 
is  most  evident :  nothing  would  be  more  completely  farcical 
than  a  government  completely  checked.  Having  commented 
thus  far  on  the  gentleman's  opposition  to  the  Federal  Consti- 
tution, he  proceeded,  according  to  the  order  of  his  objections, 
to  consider  the  presiding. power.  On  this  he  would  be  ex- 
tremely concise ;  for,  as  the  only  objection  which  had  fallen 
upon  this  head  from  the  honorable  gentleman  was,  that  we 
had  only  a  thirteenth  part  of  him  ;  and  as  this  might  equally, 
and,  in  his  opinion,  with  more  justice,  be  the  objection  of 
many  and  almost  every  state,  he  considered  it  only  as  a 
weight  thrown  into  the  scale  of  other  objections,  and  not  a 
subject  for  discussion. 

With  respect  to  the  President's  responsibility,  it  could  not 
be  established  more  firmly  than  it  is  by  the  Constitution. 
When  treaties  are  made,  if  in  the  time  of  prosperity,  men 
seldom  think  they  gain  enough ;  if  in  the  day  of  adversity, 
they  would  be  apt  to  make  the  President  the  pillow  upon 
whom  they  would  rest  all  their  resentment.  The  Constitu- 
tion had  then  wisely  made  him,  as  a  man,  responsible  by  the 
iofluence  of  fame,  his  character,  and  his  feelings  ;  as  a  citi- 
zen, they  have  postponed  the  period  at  which  he  could  be 
tried  with  propriety  until  the  fervor  of  party  and  cool  reflec- 
tion can  determine  his  fate.  The  gentleman  had  also  ob- 
jected to  the  power  given  to  those  two  branches  of  making 
treaties,  and  that  these  treaties  should  become  the  law  of  the 
land.  A  number  of  gentlemen  have  proved  this  power  to  l>e 
in  the  possession  of  the  head  of  every  free  nation,  and  that  it 
is  within  the  power  of  the  present  Congress.  He  should 
only,  therefore,  observe,  that  the  most  free  and  enlightened 
nations  of  the  world  had  a  federal  head,  in  which  this  power 
was  established  —  he  meant  the  Amphictyonic  council  of  the 
Greeks,  which  was  the  palladium  of  their  united  liberties, 
and,  until  destroyed  by  the  ambition  of  a  few  of  the  states 
of  Greece,  was  revered  by  that  jealous  people  as  the  corner- 
stone of  their  federal  union.  Against  the  representation  he 
generally  objects,  that  they  are  too  few,  and  not  elected  im- 
mediately by  the  people.     The  whole  body  consists  of  sixtv 

294  DEBATES.  [Babnwbll 

five  persons,  in  vhe  proportion  of  one  to  thirty  thousand. 
The  British  Parliament  have  one  to  fifteen  thousand  in  the 
island  of  Great  Britain,  without  considering  her  possessions 
elsewhere.  The  numbers  of  her  Parliament  are  fixed  ;  our 
congressional  powers  may  be  increased  almost  ad  infinitum. 
Supposing,  then,  that  a  smaller  apportionment  had  been 
made,  in  time  we  should  have  been  oppressed  with  the 
number  of  legislators,  and  our  government  would  be  as  lan- 
guid and  inoperative  as  it  is  at  prese  nt ;  and  he  differed  so 
much  from  the  honorable  gentleman,  that  he  was  apprehen- 
sive lest  he  should  find  that,  by  the  Constitution,  their  num 
bers  will  be  too  great.  As  for  their  not  being  immediately 
elected  by  the  people  at  large,  the  gentleman  would  please 
to  observe,  that,  contradictory  to  their  present  method  of 
electing  delegates  to  Congress, — a  method  laid  down  by 
that  Confederation  which  he  admires,  —  all  the  representa- 
tives are  elected  by  the  people  ;  so  that,  in  this  instance,  the 
gentleman  was  very  unfortunate  in  his  objection.  The  gen- 
tleman also  asked  why  we  were  deprived  of  the  liberty  of 
paying  our  own  delegates  ?  This  is  another  of  the  gentle- 
man's  unfounded  suspicions;  for  the  reason  is  so  evident, 
and  the  regulation  so  favorable,  that  he  was  astonished  how 
it  escaped  the  honorable  gentleman's  notice.  Congress  are 
to  have  the  sole  power  of  laying  on  imposts ;  and  therefore, 
when  that  fund  is  given  up  by  which  we  were  enabled  to 
pay  our  delegates,  we  are  also  eased  of  the  burden  of  doing 
it.  This  is  so  evident,  that  the  establishment  of  the  objec- 
tion takes  not  a  little  from  the  weight  of  the  gentleman's 
other  observations.  Mr.  Barnwell  proceeded  to  say  that  the 
gentleman,  upon  the  deprivation  of  the  right  to  issue  paper 
medium,  has  altogether  made  use  of  an  argument  ad  homi- 
nem,  calculated  to  seduce ;  and  his  eulogium  upon  it  was.  in 
his  opinion,  misapplied.  However,  supposing  that  to  be  the 
clew  that  led  us  to  our  liberty,  yet  the  gentleman  must  ac- 
knowledge it  was  not  the  state,  but  the  Continental  money, 
that  brought  about  the  favorable  termination  of  the  war.  If 
to  strike  off  a  paper  medium  becomes  necessary,  Congress, 
by  the  Constitution,  still  have  that  right,  and  may  exercise 
't  when  they  think  proper. 

The  honorable  gentleman  asks  why  the  trial  by  jury  was 
not  established  in  every  instance.  Mr.  Barnwell  considered 
this  right  of  trial  as  the  birthright  of  every  American,  and  th? 

Rabnwbll.]  south  GAROUNA.  29h 


basis  of  our  civil  liberty;  but  still  most  certainly  particulai 
circumstances  may  arise,  which  .would  induce  even  the  great- 
est advocates  for  this  right  to  yield  it  for  a  time.  In  his 
opinion,  the  circumstances  that  would  lead  to  this  point 
were  those  which  are  specified  by  the  Constitution.  Mr 
Barnwell  said,  Suffer  me  to  state  a  case,  and  let  every  gen- 
'tleman  determine  whether,  in  particular  instances,  he  would 
not  rather  resign  than  retain  this  right  of  trial.  A  suit  is 
depending  between  a  citizen  of  Carolina  and  Georgia,  and  it 
becomes  necessary  to  try  it  in  Georgia.  What  is  the  conse- 
quonce?  Why,  the  citizen  of  this  state  must  rest  his  cause 
upon  the  jury  of  his  opponent's  vicinage,  where,  unknown 
and  unrelated,  he  stands  a  very  poor  chance  for  justice 
against  one  whose  neighbors,  whose  friends  and  relations, 
compose  the  greater  part  of  his  judges.  It  is  in  this  case, 
and  only  in  cases  of  a  similar  nature  with  this,  that  the  right 
of  trial  by  jury  is  not  established  ;  and  judging  from  myself, 
it  is  in  this  instance  only  that  every  man  would  wish  to  re- 
sign it,  not  to  a  jury  with  whom  he  is  unacquainted,  but  to 
an  impartial  and  responsible  individual. 

Mr.  Barnwell  then  adverted  to  the  parts  of  the  Constitu- 
tion which  more  immediately  affected  our  state ;  namely, 
the  right  of  establishing  imposts  and  granting  preferences, 
and  the  clause  which  respects  the  importation  of  negroes. 
Upon  the  first  he  premised,  that,  in  the  compacts  which 
unite  men  into  society,  it  always  is  necessary  to  give  up  a 
part  of  our  natural  rights  to  secure  the  remainder;  and  that, 
iu  every  instance,  if  the  latter  could  be  maintained  without 
giving  up  the  lormer,  every  individual  would  be  willing  to 
keep  back  his  share  of  those  aggregate  ties  which  then  would 
bind  the  rest  of  the  community  ;  each  individual  would  wish 
to  retain  his  right  to  act  as  he  plenses,  whilst  all  but  himself 
were  restricted  in  their  conduct.  Let  us,  then,  apply  this 
to  the  United  States ;  and  yet  the  honorable  gentleman  sup- 
poses that  South  Carolina  should  be  free  herself.  Surely 
this  is  no*  just,  and  cannot  be  admissible. 

Mn  C'lairman,  suffer  me  to  make  this  one  other  remark  — 
that,  wlvjn  the  distinctions  occasioned  by  wealth  take  place, 
the  desiie  of  equality  and  the  appetite  for  property  soon  ren- 
der it  necessary  that  the  wealthy  weak  man  should  make 
greater  sacrifices  than  the  man  who  has  nothing  to  lose,  and 
consequently  nothing  to  fear.     This  is  the  case  wi*h  us.    To 

DEBATES.  [Barnwell. 

secuie  our  wealth,  and  establish  our  security,  perhaps  some 
little  sacrifice  was  necessary ;  and  what  is  this  sacrifice  ? 
Why,  that,  generally,  American  vessels  should  have  a  prefer- 
ence in  the  carrying  trade.  The  gentleman  asserts  that,  by- 
granting  this  preference,  we,  as  a  large  importinjj  state,  will 
sufier  greatly.  Let  us  examine  the  truth  of  this  position. 
By  so  doing,  says  the  honorable  gentleman,  we  shall  destroy 
all  competition,  and  the  carrying  states  will  establish  what 
freight  they  please.  I  deny  the  declaration ;  and  upon  this 
principle:  bc^unties  act  as  encouragements;  and  this  prefer- 
ence may,  in  a  trifling  degree,  injure  us  for  one  or  two  years, 
but  will  throw  so  many  capitals  into  this  trade,  that,  even  if 
the  Eastern  States  should  desire  to  oppress  us,  this  would 
prevent  them  ;  for  when  this  bounty  takes  place,  our  harbors 
will  most  indisputably  reduce  the  freight.  The  gentleman 
will  perhaps  say  that  this  is  conjectural  only.  1  appeal  to 
every  author,  who  has  written  upon  the  subject,  for  the  cer- 
tainty of  this  commercial  maxim,  and  will  ask  the  gentleman 
himself,  whether  an  overstock  of  the  market,  in  every  in- 
stance, docs  not  reduce  the  price  of  the  commodity.  Thus 
he  had  proved,  he  thought,  that,  should  the  Eastern  States 
be  desirous  to  take  unfriendly  advantages,  their  own  interest 
would  defeat  their  intention. 

Mr.  Barnwell  continued  to  say,  I  now  come  to  the  last 
point  for  consideration,  —  1  mean  the  clause  relative  to  the 
negroes  ;  and  here  I  am  particularly  pleased  with  the  Con- 
stitution. It  has  not  left  this  matter,  of  so  much  importance 
to  us,  open  to  immediate  investigation.  No ;  it  has  declared 
that  the  United  States  shall  not,  at  any  rate,  consider  this 
matter  for  twenty-one  years ;  and  yet  gentlemen  are  dis- 
pleased with  it.  Congress  has  guarantied  this  right  for  that 
space  of  time,  and  at  its  expiration  may  continue  it  as  long 
as  they  please.  This  question  then  arises —  What  will  their 
inlerest  lead  them  to  do  ?  The  Eastern  States,  as  the  hon- 
orable gentleman  says,  will  become  the  carriers  of  America. 
It  will,  therefore,  certainly  be  their  interest  to  encourage 
exportation  to  as  great  an  extent  as  possible  ;  and  if  the 
quantum  of  our  products  will  be  diminished  by  the  prohibi- 
tion of  negroes,  I  appeal  to  the  belief  of  every  man, 
whether  he  thinks  those  very  carriers  will  themselves  dam 
up  the  sources  from  whence  their  profit  is  derived.  To  think 
so  IS  so  contradictory  to  the  general  conduct  of  maiikind, 

LowwoEs.]  SOUTH  CAROLINA.  297 

that  I  am  of  opinion,  that,  without  we  ourselves  put  a  stop 
to  them,  the  traffic  for  negroes  will  continue  forever. 

Mr.  Barnwell  concluded  hy  declaring  that  this  Constitu- 
tion was,  in  his  opinion,  like  the  laws  of  Solon,  not  the  best 
possible  to  be  formed,  but  the  best  that  our  situation  will 
admit  of.  He  considered  it  as  the  panacea  of  America, 
whose  healing  power  will  pervade  the  continent,  and  sin- 
cerely believed  hat  its  ratification  is  a  consummation  devoutly 
to  be  wished. 

Commodore  GILLON  wished  to  know  what  reason  the 
house  had  to  suppose  that,  if  another  convention  met,  our 
interest  would  be  better  taken  care  of  by  men  of  equal  abili- 
ties with  those  who  went  to  the  other;  or  if,  when  there, 
they  could  procure  for  us  superior  advantages  to  those  already 
agreed  on.  Indeed,  he  could  not  but  consider  our  negativ- 
ing the  •proffered  government  as  an  oblique  mode  of  reflect- 
ing on  the  conduct  of  our  delegates,  instead  of  giving  them 
that  praise  they  were  so  Justly  entitled  to.  He  called  the 
attention  of  the  house  to  the  late  commotions  that  had  hap- 
pened in  Holland,  where  one  part  of  the  citizens  had  called 
in  the  assistance  of  foreigners,  for  the  sanguinary  purpose  of 
cutting  the  throats  of  the  other.  Are  we  more  virtuous? 
If  not,  may  it  not  happen  that,  if  dissension  unhappily  prevail 
among  us,  foreign  aid  will  be  joined  to  those  enemies  already 
amongst  us,  and  introduce  the  horrors  of  a  civil  war  ?  He 
was  warmly  in  favor  of  our  sister  states  becoming  the  carriers 
of  America ;  not  that  he  wished  to  exclude  our  employing 
foreigners;  at  present  two  thirds  of  our  produce  was  <!arried 
in  American  bottoms.  The  commodore  hoped  the  gentle- 
man who  had  approved  of  our  state  Constitution  of  1778, 
would  be,  in  time,  equally  pleased  with  the  Federal  Consti- 
tution proposed  in  1787.  He  had  represented  our  present 
situation  to  be  calm  and  peaceable,  but  it  was  such  a  calm 
as  mariners  often  experience  at  sea,  after  a  storm,  when  one 
ship  rolls  against  another,  and  they  sink. 

Hon.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES  said,  the  honorable  gen- 
tleman  frequently  thought  proper  to  level  his  shot  at  him ; 
hut  on  the  present  occasion  they  were  not  well  pointed. 
The  reason  why  he  assented  unto  the  Constitution  in  1778 
was,  because  it  had  been  approved  of  by  the  people.  There 
had  been  something  said  about  a  ship:  the  Confederation 
was  our  old  ship  ;  it  had  cost  us  a  great  deal  of  money ;  and 
VOL.  IV.  38 


he  hoped  we  should  keep  her  at  sea  without  having  any  new 

Hon.  JOHN  MATHEWS,  chancellor,  confessed  himself 
astonished  at  hearing  such  encomiums  on  the  Articles  of 
Confederation,  as  if  they  had  carried  us  victoriously  through 
the  war,  when,  in  fact,  they  were  not  ratified  until  the  year 
1781 ;  and  if  the  Confederation  had  been  in  force  in  1776, 
this  country  would  have  inevitably  been  lost,  because,  under 
it,  Congress  had  not  authority  to  give  General  Washington 
the  powers  of  a  dictator  at  Valley  Forge.  Surely  the  honor- 
able gentleman  must  be  sensible  that  the  success  of  Congress 
depended  on  the  explicit  confidence  of  the  people ;  the  voice 
of  Congress  had  the  force  of  law,  and  was  cheerfully  and 
readily  obeyed.  With  regard  to  the  carrying  trade,  when 
the  Convention  was  first  ap[)ointed,  he  was  afraid  that,  if  a 
navigation  act  passed,  the  Northern  States  could  not  for  some 
time  furnish  shipping  sufficient  for  carrying  the  produce  of 
America ;  but  on  going,  last  year,  to  the  northward,  he  was 
fully  convinced  to  the  contrary.  At  Rhode  Island,  he 
received  information  that  they  could  immediately  furnish 
50,000  tons  of  shipping,  and  that  in  1787  Massachusetts 
could  furnish  150,000  tons.  He  then  went  into  a  calculation 
of  the  produce  of  the  Southern  States.  Virginia  raised 
between  60,000  and  70,000  hogsheads  annually;  South 
Carolina,  he  sup|X)sed,  would  raise  nearly  150,000  barrels  of 
rice ;  Georgia  about  40,000 ;  which,  making  large  allow- 
ances for  other  kind  of  produce,  still  left  an  excess  of  ship- 
ping. As  to  any  fears  that  the  Northern  States  would  so 
far  engross  the  navio:ation  of  America  as  to  lav  the  Southern 
States  under  a  kind  of  contribution,  by  charging  excessive 
freightage,  we  must  sup|)ose  that  they  and  the  Middle  States 
would  confederate  for  this  piir|)ose ;  for,  if  they  did  not,  a 
competition  would  naturiilly  arise  between  them,  and  also 
between  America  and  the  European  nations,  which  would 
always  secure  us  against  the  payment  of  great  and  exorbitant 
freights.  As  to  the  idea  that  a  Senate  could  overturn  our 
liberties  and  establish  tyranny,  this  evil  never  could  take 
place  whilst  the  President  was  an  honest  man,  because  he 
|X)ssessed  the  power  of  negativing  any  improper  proceedings 
of  the  two  other  branches  of  government. 

Hon.  EDWARD  RUTLEDGE  proved,  from  the  act 
passed  last  session,  appointing  delegates  from  the  state  t( 


meet  those  from  other  states,  in  Convention  at  Philadelphia, 
that  they  had  not  exceeded  their  powers.  H^  then  com- 
pared the  powers  given  under  the  old  and  new  constitutions, 
and  proved  that  they  differed  very  little,  except  in  thai 
essential  point  which  gave  the  power  to  government  of  en- 
forcing its  engagements ;  and  surely  no  person  could  object 
to  this.  Mr.  Rutledge  thought  very  lightly  of  those  fears 
entertained  about  bayonets  being  necessary  to  enforce  an 
obedience  in  the  people  to  the  laws,  when  it  became  certain 
that  they  could  not  be  broken  with  impunity ;  but  if  a  spirit 
of  resistance  should  appear,  surely  it  ought  to  be  in  the  power 
of  government  to  compel  a  coercion  in  the  people.  He  then 
took  some  notice  of  the  union  between  Great  Britain  and 
Scotland,  showed  the  difference  between  the  articles  of 
union  and  our  Federal  Constitution.  Great  Britain  reserved 
to  herself  the  power  of  passing  navigation  laws,  regulating 
the  excise;  the  rate  of  taxation  was  also  proportionate;  for 
every  two  millions  of  money  raised  in  England,  Scotland 
engaged  to  raise  £45,000 ;  but  in  this  country,  we  were  to 
be  equally  taxed ;  no  distinction  had  been  made,  and  we  * 
went  on  all-fours.  So  far  from  not  preferring  Northern 
States  by  a  navigation  act,  it  would  be  politic  to  increase 
their  strength  by  every  means  in  our  power ;  for  we  had  no 
other  resource,  in  the  day  of  danger,  than  in  the  naval  force 
of  our  northern  friends ;  nor  could  we  ever  expect  to  become 
a  great  nation  until  we  were  powerful  on  the  waters.  Look 
only  at  the  partiality  of  an  act  passed  in  England  last  year, 
in  which  we  were  excluded  from  trading  in  some  parts  of 
the  West  Indies,  whilst  liberty  was  given  to  all  European 
powers.  In  fact,  we  must  hold  our  country  by  courtesy, 
unless  we  have  a  navy ;  for,  if  we  are  invaded,  supposing  in  the 
month  of  July,  Congress  could  not  send  troops  nine  hundred 
miles,  in  time  to  rescue  us  from  danger,  were  we  to  run  such 
risk,  l)ecause  it  was  possible  we  should  be  charged  a  little 
more  freightage  for  our  produce.  But  if  we  are  a  great 
maritime  people,  what  have  we  to  fear  ?  Nothing ;  because 
European  powers  were  so  far  removed  from  us  that  it  would 
be  very  dangerous  to  send  a  considerable  force  against  us ; 
l)esides,  as  the  West  India  trade  must  pass  near  our  coast,  it 
naturally  lay  at  our  mercy.  The  honorable  gentleman  had 
jaid  a  great  deal  about  establishing  an  aristocracy,  and  yet 
he  wanted  more  power  to  the  old  constitution :  now,  did  not 


ills  own  proposition,  which  tended  to  establish  a  precedent 
for  .slipping  in,  by  degrees,  additional  power,  appear  as  likely 
to  promote  what  he  dreaded,  as  to  agree  with  a  constitution 
that  came  sanctioned  by  the  voice  of  the  people  ? 

Hon.  ARTHUR  SIMKINS,  of  Ninety-six,  asked,  for 
information,  whether  Congress  had  a  right  to  interfere  in 

swered,  they  had  no  power  at  all,  and  explained  this  point  to 
Mr.  Simkins's  satisfaction. 

Hon.  RAWLINS  LOWNDES  saying  that  he  was  much 
in  arrear,  the  committee  rose,  reported  some  progress,  and 
asked  leave  to  sit  again.     Leave  was  given. 

Friday,  January  18,  178W. 

Maj.  PIERCE  BUTLER  opened  the  debate  (as  we  un- 
derstand ;  the  reporter  of  those  debates  unfortunately  not 
being  in  the  housej  with  several  satisfactory  answers  to  some 
points  of  objection  the  preceding  day. 

answer  to  Mr.  Lowndes,  observed,  that,  though  ready  to  pay 
every  tribute  of  applause  to  the  great  characters  whose 
names  were  subscril)ed  to  the  old  Confederation,  yet  his 
respect  for  them  could  not  prevent  him  from  being  thoroughly 
sensible  of  the  defects  of  the  system  they  had  established  ; 
sad  experience  had  convinced  him  that  it  was  weak,  ineffi- 
cient, and  inadequate  to  the  pur}X)ses  of  good  government  ; 
and  he  understood  that  most  of  the  framers  of  it  were  so 
thoroughly  convinced  of  this  truth,  that  they  were  eager  to 
adopt  the  present  Constitution.  The  friends  of  the  new 
system  do  not  mean  to  shelter  it  under  the  respectability  of 
mere  names  ;  they  wish  every  part  of  it  may  be  examined 
with  critical  minuteness,  convinced  that  the  more  thoroughly 
it  is  investigated,  the  better  it  will  appear.  The  honorable 
gentleman,  in  the  warmth  of  his  encomiums  on  the  old  plan, 
had  said  that  it  had  carried  us  with  success  through  the  war. 
In  this  it  has  been  shown  that  he  is  mistaken,  as  it  -was  not 
finally  ratified  till  March,  1781,  and,  anterior  to  that  latifica- 
iion.  Congress  never  acted  under  it,  or  considered  it  as  bind- 
ing. Our  success,  therefore,  ought  not  to  be  imputed  to  tne 
old  Confederation ;  but  to  the  vast  abilities  of  a  Washington, 


to  the  valor  and  enthusiasm  of  our  people,  to  the  cruelty  of 
our  enemies,  and  to  the  assistance  of  our  friends.     The  gen- 
tleman had  mentioned  the  treaty  of  peace  in  a  manner  as  if 
our  independence  had  been  granted  us  by  the  king  of  Great 
Britain.     But  that  was  not  the  case  ;  we  were  independent 
before  the  treaty,  which  does  not  in  fact  grant,  but  acknowl- 
edges, our  independence.     We  ought  to  date  that  invaluable 
blessing  from  a  much  older  charter  than  the  treaty  of  peace 
—  from  a  charter  which  our  babes  should  be  taught  to  lisp 
in  their  cradles  ;   which  our  youth  should  learn  as  a  carmen 
necessarium,  or  indispensable  lesson ;  which  our  young  men 
should  regard  as  their  compact  of  freedom  ;  and  which  our  old 
should  repeat  with  ejaculations  of  gratitude  for  the  bounties 
it  is  about  to  bestow  on  their  posterity  :  I  mean  the  Decla- 
ration of  Independence,  made  in  Congress  the  4th  of  July, 
1776.     This  admirable  manifesto,  which,  for  importance  of 
matter  and  elegance  of  composition,  stands  unrivalled,  suffi- 
ciently confutes  the  honorable  gentleman's  doctrine  of  the 
individual    sovereignty   and    independence    of  the    several 

In  that  Declaration  the  several  states  are  not  even  enu- 
merated ;  but  after  reciting,  in  nervous  language,  and  with 
convincing  arguments,  our  right  to  independence,  and  the 
tyranny  which  compelled  us  to  assert  it,  the  declaration  is 
made  in  the  following  words  :  "  We,  therefore,  the  represent- 
atives of  the  United  States  of  America  in  General  Congress 
assembled,  appealing  to  the  Supreme  Judge  of  the  world  for 
the  rectitude  of  our  intentions,  do,  in  the  name  and  by  the 
authority  of  the  good  people  of  these  colonies,  solemnly  pub- 
lish and  declare,  that  these  United  Colonies  are,  and  of  right 
ought  to  be,  FREE  AND  INDEPENDENT  STATES." 
The  separate  independence  and  individual  sovereignty  of 
the  several  states  were  never  thought  of  by  the  enlightened 
band  of  patriots  who  framed  this  Declaration  ;  ,the  several 
states  are  not  even  mentioned  by  name  in  any^part  of  it, — 
as  if  it  was  intended  to  impress  this  maxim  on  America, 
that  our  freedom  and  independence  arose  from  our  union, 
and  that  without  it  we  could  neither  be  free  nor  independ- 
ent. Let  us,  then,  consider  all  attempts  to  weaken  this 
Union,  by  maintaining  that  each  state  is  separately  and  indi- 

Tidually  independent,  as  a  species  of  political  heresy,  which 


3t/2  DEBATES.  [Pincknet 

can  never  benefit  us,  but  may  bring  on  us  the  most  serious 

The  general,  then,  in  answer  to  Mr.  Lowndes's  objections, 
thnt  the  powers  vested  in  the  general  government  were  too 
extensive,  enumerated  all  the  powers  granted,  and  remarked 
particularly  on  each,  showing  that  the  general  good  of  the 
Union  required  that  all  the  powers  sj>ecified  ought  necessarily 
to  be  vested  where  the  Constitution  had  placed  them ;  and 
that,  as  all  the  powers  granted  sprang  from  the  people,  and 
were  to  be  exercised  by  persons  frequently  chosen,  mediately 
or  immediately,  by  the  people ;  and  that,  as  we  had  as  great 
a  shcire  in  the  government,  in  proportion  to  our  importance, 
as  any  other  state  had,  —  the  assertion  that  our  representa- 
tion would  be  merely  virtual,  similar  to  what  we  possessed 
under  the  British  government,  was  altogether  unfounded  ; 
that  there  was  no  danger  of  the  powers  granted  being  abused 
while  the  people  remained  uncorrupt ;  and  that  corruption 
was  more  effectually  guarded  against,  in  the  manner  this 
government  was  constituted,  than  in  any  other  that  had  ever 
been  formed.  From  the  number  of  electors  who  have  a  right 
to  vote  for  a  member  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  little 
danger  can  be  apprehended  of  corruption  or  undue  influence, 
ff  a  small  district  sent  a  member,  there  would  be  frequent 
opportunities  for  cabal  and  intrigue  ;  but  if  the  sphere  of 
election  is  enlarged,  then  opportunities  must  necessarily 
diminish.  The  little  demagogue  of  a  petty  parish  or  county 
will  find  his  importance  annihilated,  and  his  intrigues  useless, 
when  several  counties  join  in  an  election  ;  he  probably  would 
not  be  known,  certainly  not  regarded,  out  of  his  own  circle ; 
while  the  man  whose  abilities  and  virtues  had  extended  a 
fair  reputation  beyond  the  limits  of  his  county,  would,  nine 
times  out  of  ten,  be  the  person  who  would  be  the  choice  of 
the  people. 

There  will  be  no  necessity,  as  the  honorable  gentleman 
has  strangely,  supposed,  for  all  the  freeholders  in  the  state  to 
meet  at  Charleston  to  choose  five  members  for  the  House  of 
Representatives ;  for  the  state  may  be  divided  into  five  elec- 
tion districts,  and  the  freeholders  in  each  election  district 
may  ciioose  one  representative.  These  freeholders  need  not 
all  meet  at  the  same  place  in  the  district ;  they  may  ballot 
in  their  particular  parishes  and  couiuies  on  the  same  day, 
and  the  ballots  may  be  thence  carried  into  a  central  part  of 


the  district,  and  opened  at  the  same  time  ;  and  whoever  shall 
appear  to  have  a  majority  of  the  votes  of  the  freeholders  of 
the  whole  district  will  be  one  of  the  five  representatives  for 
this  state.  But  if  any  state  should  attempt  to  fix  a  very  in- 
convenient time  for  the  election,  and  name  (agreeably  to  the 
ideas  of  the  honorable  gentleman)  only  one  place  in  the 
state,  or  even  one  place  in  one  of  the  five  election  districts, 
for  the  freeholders  to  assemble  to  vote,  and  the  people  should 
dislike  this  arrangement,  they  can  petition  the  general  gov- 
ernment to  redress  this  inconvenience,  and  to  fix  times  and 
places  of  election  of  representatives  in  the  state  in  a  more 
convenient  manner;  for,  as  this  house  has  a  right  to  fix  the 
times  and  places  of  election,  in  each  parish  and  county,  for 
the  members  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of  this  state, 
so  the  general  government  has  a  similar  right  to  fix  the  times 
aod  places  of  election,  in  each  state,  for  the  members. of  the 
general  House  of  Representatives.  Nor  is  there  any  real 
danger  to  be  apprehended  from  the  exercise  of  this  power,  as 
it  cannot  be  supposed  that  any  state  will  consent  to  fix  the 
election  at  inconvenient  seasons  and  places  in  any  other  state, 
lest  she  herself  should  hereafter  experience  the  same  incon- 
venience ;  but  it  is  absolutely  necessary  that  Congress  should 
have  this  superintending  power,  lest,  by  the  intrigues  of  a 
ruling  faction  in  a  state,  the  members  of  the  House  of  Rep- 
resentatives should  not  really  represent  the  people  of  the  state, 
and  lest  the  same  faction,  tiirou^h  partial  state  views,  should 
altogether  refuse  to  send  representatives  of  the  people  to  the 
general  government.  The  general  government  has  not  the 
same  authority  with  regard  to  the  members  of  the  Senate. 
It  would  have  been  improper  to  have  intrusted  them  with  it; 
for  such  a  power  would,  in  some  measure,  have  authorized 
them  to  fix  the  times  and  places  when  and  where  the  state 
legisl.itures  should  convene,  and  would  tend  to  destroy  that 
necessary  check  which  the  general  and  state  governments 
will  have  on  each  other.  The  honorable  gentleman,  as  if  he 
was  determined  to  object  to  every  part  of  the  Constitution, 
though  he  does  not  approve  of  electing  representatives  im- 
mediately by  the  people,  or  at  least  cannot  conceive  how  it 
is  to  be  effected,  yet  objects  to  the  constitution  of  the  Senate, 
IjccHUse  the  senators  are  to  be  elected  by  the  state  legislatures, 
and  not  immediately  by  the  people.  When  the  Constitu- 
tion says  the  people  shall  elect,  the  g(»ntleman  cries  out.  "  It  is 

304  DEBATES.  [PiNcufBr. 

chimerical !  —  the  election  will  be  merely  virtual."  When  the 
Constitution  determines  that  the  state  legislatures  are  to  elect, 
he  exclaims,  "The  people's  rights  are  invaded  ! — the  election 
should  be  immediately  by  them,  and  not  by  their  representa- 
tives." How,  then,  can  we  satisfy  him,  as  he  is  determined 
to  censure,  in  this  Constitution,  that  mode  of  election  wh'x'h 
he  so  highly  approves  in  the  old  Confederation  ?  The  reason 
why  our  present  state  Constitution,  mr^de  in  1778,  changed 
the  mode  of  electing  senators  from  the  mode  prescribed  by 
our  first  constitution,  passed  in  1776,  was  because,  by  the 
first,  the  senators